06/20/2024, 12.09
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Iran, Ahvaz: 15 years in prison for Christian convert Yasin Mousavi

The news of the day: after North Korea Putin arrived in Vietnam, historical ties between the two countries. In the disputed South China Sea, the Philippines accuses the Chinese Coast Guard of acting 'like pirates', boarding ships armed with knives. In India, heat strokes are multiplying due to the record heat wave. In Xinjiang, according to HRW, village names changed to eliminate Uyghur culture.


A revolutionary court in Ahvaz sentenced Yasin Mousavi, an Iranian Christian convert, to 15 years in prison. The charge concerns "membership in groups aiming to disrupt national security" and "propaganda against the Islamic Republic through the promotion of Zionist Christianity". Although Christians are recognised as a religious minority in Iran, the authorities treat those who convert from Islam to Christianity harshly.


Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi for the second leg of a tour of East Asia. The trip, which comes after his meeting in North Korea with Kim Kong-un, is interpreted as a demonstration of the diplomatic support Russia still enjoys in the region. Vietnam still values its historical ties with Russia, although it is working to improve its relations with Europe and the United States.


The Philippines accused the Chinese Coast Guard of acting "like pirates", claiming that personnel armed with knives and spears boarded their supply ships at Second Thomas Shoal in the latest clash in the disputed South China Sea. Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Romeo Brawner said the incident occurred on 17 June while Filipino soldiers were trying to resupply sailors stationed on the Sierra Madre.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accuses the United States of holding back arms shipments, slowing the Israeli offensive in Rafah, where fighting has exacerbated the already dire humanitarian situation for Palestinians. President Joe Biden delayed the delivery of a single shipment of heavy bombs in May because of concerns about civilian killings. Meanwhile, divisions deepen between the government and the Israeli army, whose spokesman acknowledged that "Hamas is an idea and can only be defeated by a political alternative".


India recorded more than 40,000 cases of suspected heatstroke as a prolonged heatwave killed more than 100 people across the country, while parts of the northeast were hit by floods due to heavy rains, authorities said. Billions of people across Asia are grappling with the extreme heat this summer, in what is one of the longest heat waves on record.


According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), China has changed the names of hundreds of villages in the Xinjiang region with the aim of erasing Uyghur Muslim culture. Words like 'sultan' and 'shrine' are disappearing from place names - to be replaced by terms like 'harmony' and 'happiness', according to the research, which is based on data published by China itself. The Chinese embassy in London has denied the allegations.


The company of the 'South Caucasus Railways' announced that on 24 June a passenger connection will be opened on the Yerevan-Batumi line between Armenia and Georgia, much desired to reach the beach of Adžaria, the Georgian tourist area, and also the first route re-established after the re-opening of railway communication between the two countries.


Some regions of Russia, especially Tatarstan and Chechnya, are offering jobs to migrants from Afghanistan. In Kazan in particular, they are counting on Afghan Tatars after the government's pronouncements on the removal of the Taliban's 'terrorist' status, although concerns remain over Russia's rampant xenophobia against Asians.

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