12/09/2022, 09.52
ASIA TODAY
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India: Modi's BJP wins Gujarat but loses Himachal Pradesh

Today's headlines: North Korean hackers exploited the Halloween tragedy to spread malware in the South; the Emirati passport is first in the world for mobility and freedom from restrictions; in Karnataka, a Christian ecumenical group calls for police protection for Christmas fearing attacks; Taiwan bans the installation and use of Tik Tok on communication devices in public; Uzbekistan rejects the Russian proposal for a 'union' on natural gas. 

INDIA

The BJP is confirmed as the leader of Gujarat, the state from which its leader - Prime Minister Narendra Modi - built his rise to power. In the round of local elections whose results were released yesterday, the Hindu nationalists achieved a record 158 out of 182 seats in the local parliament in Ahmedabad. The BJP, on the other hand, emerged defeated in Himachal Pradesh, which was won back by the Congress, while the Delhi Assembly went to Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party. After these elections, the BJP is now in government in 16 of India's 30 local parliaments.

NORTH KOREA - SOUTH KOREA

North Korean hackers from the APT37 group, linked to the Pyongyang government, exploited the Halloween incident in Seoul, in which more than 150 people died in the stampede, to distribute malware among users in South Korea. According to Google's Threat Analysis Group, they were hidden inside Microsoft Office documents passed off as reports from the Seoul authorities.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

The UAE's passport is number one in the world in terms of mobility and freedom from travel restrictions, according to the 2022 Passport Index report. The UAE ranks first in a list of 180 nations, dominated in the remaining top 10 by Europe. With an Eau passport, it is possible to enter 121 countries without a visa and receive one on arrival in 59 others (91 per cent of the total). 

INDIA

In Karnataka, a state in the south-west of India, a Christian ecumenical group has called for police protection during the upcoming festivities. A request "justified in this context," said Fr. Faustine Lucas Lobo, spokesman for the local Bishops' Council, for the numerous attacks that have occurred in the region since the introduction of the anti-conversion law on 17 May. 

ISRAEL

Likud sources say that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked President Isaac Herzog for a further extension of 14 days to form the new government. A request related to the need for further consultations in agreeing on roles and duration among the coalition partners, particularly the religious and nationalist partners. The current deadline expires on the evening of 10 December. 

TAIWAN

Taiwan has banned the installation and use of TikTok on communication devices in the public for 'security reasons'. The world's most downloaded app, and its Chinese version Douyin, both owned by China's ByteDance, are deemed 'harmful' by the Ministry of Digital Affairs (Moda) from a 'national information security' perspective. Doubts about possible use among private individuals. 

VIETNAM

Vietnam has decided to break its dependence on Russian arms, which has been in place for many years, and start exporting its own weapons to Africa, Asia and potentially Russia itself. Hanoi is one of the top 20 arms buyers in the world, especially in relation to frequent tensions with China, to the tune of around EUR 1 billion annually.

RUSSIA

After Ukrainian drone attacks on targets on Russian territory, panic spread in the Ukrainian neighbouring regions of Kursk and Belgorod over a possible ground attack by the Kiev army. Therefore, the local governors decided to form 'popular militia' units for local defence.

UZBEKISTAN

Uzbekistan has rejected a proposal made last month by Russian President Vladimir Putin to create a 'natural gas union' together with Russia and Kazakhstan. The decision shows the growing rift between Moscow and the former Soviet republics over the war in Ukraine. The idea was to create a mechanism to transport gas between the three countries and to other nations, including China. 

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