03/20/2023, 09.26
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Iran: Saudi Arabia invited President Raisi for an official visit

Today's headlines: Hunt underway in India for a Khalistani separatist leader; China-Cambodia hold naval exercises; Thai PM Preyuth back in political polls: Former Australian soldier arrested for alleged crimes in Afghanistan; Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza's condition worsens.


Riyadh has invited Iranian President Raisi to the Saudi kingdom for an official visit. The revelation comes from the Iranian government, according to which the invitation came in a letter from King Salman. Last week the two countries signed an agreement brokered by China to restore diplomatic relations.


The hunt is on in Punjab for Amritpal Singh, leader of a Khalistani separatist group (Waris Punjab De), who has been on the run from the police for three days. More than 100 people are currently arrested in the operation; the police have also seized weapons, and the northwestern state is on 'high alert'.


The Chinese and Phnom Penh navies have begun the first joint exercises in Cambodian waters. More than 3,000 troops and 300 vehicles are involved. Last year, Beijing got the go-ahead for the expansion of the Cambodian naval base in Ream, built partly with US funds in recent years.


In the latest polls for the general elections in May, incumbent PM Prayuth Chan-ocha is given in third position (15.65%). He is preceded by Paetongtarn Shinawatra, grandson of former prime minister (now in exile) Thaksin, who increases his lead (38.2%). Also ahead of the head of government is Pita Limjaroenrat with 15.75%.


Australian police arrested a former soldier accused of committing war crimes while serving in Afghanistan: the 41-year-old man allegedly killed a defenceless civilian. In 2020, the authorities in Canberra launched an investigation into the alleged murder of 39 Afghan prisoners by their own special troops.


Opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza, who has been detained for several months, was unable to attend the session of the trial against him due to the 'significant deterioration of his health condition'. This was announced by his lawyer Vadim Prokhorov, who said that his client's precarious state of health was due to repeated attempts to poison him.


Astana is facing a sudden increase in pressing demands from many Russian companies for help in circumventing sanctions after Turkey's refusal to allow the passage of Russian-bound cargoes. Moscow urgently needs to smuggle in aircraft materials or rare metals from Australia, as do many others.

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