07/20/2023, 08.59
ASIA TODAY
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Iraq, protesters set fire to Swedish embassy

Today's news: One Palestinian dead and four injured in an Israeli raid on Nablus; A shooting rocks New Zealand just hours before the start of the women's soccer world cup; UN warns of increasingly harsh winters in Mongolia, nomadic shepherds risk socio-economic collapse; Card. Zuppi's mission to Washington for peace in Ukraine.

IRAQ

Iraqi demonstrators who have been on the streets for days over the Koran burned in Sweden staged an overnight attack on the Swedish embassy in the center of Baghdad, scaling the walls of the complex and setting it on fire. All embassy staff were safe, the press office of the Swedish foreign ministry said this morning, condemning the attack and underlining the need for the Iraqi authorities to protect diplomatic missions.

ISRAEL - PALESTINE

Israeli forces killed a Palestinian and wounded at least four others, including two seriously, in Nablus, in the West Bank. It happened this morning at dawn, as reported by the Ministry of Health and the Red Crescent. The Palestinian battalion said its members were "fighting occupation forces and settler groups who had stormed the area of Joseph's Tomb," the shrine in the city that has been the scene of repeated clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces. The Israeli military has not made a statement.

CHINA - TAIWAN

"One of China's priorities is to prevent Taiwan's Vice President William Lai - presidential candidate of the Democratic Progressive Party in the 2024 election - from visiting the United States next month," Beijing's ambassador to Washington said today. Meanwhile, China intensifies its military "warnings" against this trip with air and naval exercises around the island of Taipei, which it considers its territory.

VATICAN - UKRAINE

 Card. Matteo Zuppi (president of the Italian Bishops' Conference) has conlcuded his mission to the United States. His July 17 to 19 July trip on behjalf of Pope Francis to Washington followed similar visits to Kiev and Moscow to talk about the conflict in Ukraine. A Holy See statement reports that Zuppi had an hour's conversation with Biden, to whom he reported on Pope Francis' suffering from the war. The Vatican assures its willingness to support humanitarian initiatives in conflict zones and to promote peace.

RUSSIA

A further rule of control and pressure on freedom of expression was presented to the Moscow Duma, with very severe penalties for "propaganda and the justification of extremist ideology", as explained by the head of the security committee, Vasilij Piskarev, which could inflict 5 years in prison on those who comment on terrorist acts on social networks without clearly expressing a condemnation of the perpetrators.

JAPAN

The government of Japan has decided on new sanctions against Russia, banning since August the export of petrol or diesel cars, including used ones, whose engine has a capacity greater than 1.9 litres, therefore also all electric and hybrid cars, which the Russians have bought with great intensity in recent months, while the most powerful and luxurious cars have already been prohibited since April 2022.

NEW ZELAND

A shooting has left two people dead in central Auckland hours before the start of the Women's Soccer World Cup. Six other people, including some police officers who intervened, were injured. The gunman allegedly took his own life after the massacre. Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said it would not be a terrorist attack. The football tournament will be played as scheduled.

MONGOLIA

The effect of the global climate crisis brings increasingly harsh winters to Mongolia, threatening the survival of the nomadic communities that make up a third of the country's population of three million. According to the United Nations, extreme weather conditions and the severity of climate change are also having a detrimental effect on Mongolian food security and income. For most nomads, wealth lies in livestock. Since January, more than 483,000 head of livestock have died of starvation, frostbite or disease, according to Mongolia's Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry. From 31 August to 4 September, Pope Francis will visit the country's Christians.

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