Hong Kong: former Apple Daily employees plead guilty
Today's headlines: Japan launches investigation into the Unification Church; the Barisan Nasional in Malaysia will not side with former opposition parties; Russia and Myanmar decide on nuclear hub in Yangon; Turkey signals it could launch ground offensive against Kurdish militias.
Six former employees, including four editors, of the Apple Daily newspaper, in custody for almost a year and a half, pleaded guilty to collusion with foreign forces and now face life imprisonment. Their statements were made as part of a trial in which the National Security Law, imposed by Beijing in 2020, was used against a media outlet for the first time. After admitting guilt, prosecutors dismissed the sedition charges.
This morning, the Japanese government announced an investigation against the Unification Church, which will have until 9 December to account for its finances. Once the investigation is completed, it will be up to a court to decide whether to deprive the Unification Church of the legal status it enjoys and with it the tax exemptions applied to religious organisations registered in Japan.
The ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, which won only 30 seats in the last elections, will not ally itself with either of the other two winning coalitions, Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional. This was said by interim Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob. Umno, the main coalition party that was seen as the needle of the scales after the election count, has decided to stay in opposition, generating even more uncertainty in Malaysia's political landscape.
MYANMAR - RUSSIA
According to Burmese state media, Myanmar's military junta and Russia have established direct flights to Yangon and decided to set up a nuclear technology hub in the city. The Minister of Science and Technology, Myo Thein Kyaw, signed an agreement at the St Petersburg Nuclear Technology Centre with the Russian state nuclear company, Rosatom, on Friday.
PAKISTAN - AFGHANISTAN
The border between the two countries was reopened after an Afghan man killed a Pakistani border guard near the town of Chaman in the southwestern province of Belucistan, causing the border crossing to be closed for a week. The decision to reopen what is called the 'Friendship Gate' was taken on Sunday at a meeting between the authorities of the two countries. The Taliban denied that the Afghan attacker was part of the security forces.
TURKEY - SYRIA - IRAQ
After launching air raids in northern Syria and Iraq against Kurdish militias, Turkey signalled the possibility of a ground offensive. Speaking to reporters during a flight back from Qatar after attending the opening of the World Cup, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the ongoing military campaign 'is not limited to a simple air operation'. Meanwhile, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported rocket launches from Syrian territory.
During the talent show 'Generational Clashes' on the Russian channel Muz-Tv, during a love song by the singer Zivert, without any political content, the words 'peace' (mir) and 'war' (voina) were muted, causing her to lose the competition. Neither the management nor the singers wished to comment on the incident.