10/28/2022, 09.30
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Iraqi parliament votes confidence in new al-Sudani government

Today's headlines: Chinese evangelical Christian under police control for over a fortnight; Pyongyang has fired two more ballistic missiles; a new shipping route connects Pakistan with Oman via Qatar; Burmese and Thai Catholic volunteers to help displaced people in the border area; several Russian oligarchs under sanctions allegedly saved hundreds of millions in capital abroad. 


The new government won the confidence of parliament during the voting session held last night. With the MPs' green light for the executive led by 52-year old Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani and made up of 21 ministers, a year of stalemate comes to an end, although there are many challenges on the horizon. The head of the state-owned South Gas Co. (SGC) Hayan Abdul Ghani is in charge of the oil ministry. 


Pyongyang fired two short-range ballistic missiles (Srbm) off the east coast this morning. This was reported by South Korean military sources, who are about to conclude a two-week military exercise, also seen as a deterrent towards the North. The launch is a new wake-up call for a possible nuclear test by the Kim regime; the last one was in 2017. 


These days the Gulf-Pakistan Express service, a new shipping line linking the port of Karachi (Pakistan) with that of Hamad (Qatar) and Sohar in Oman, has started operations. The new weekly service will offer further opportunities for direct trade between the countries with a regular service and faster and cheaper transit.


Chen Wensheng, a leading figure of the evangelical community in Hunan Province, has been under police surveillance since 12 October. The authorities picked him up on the eve of the 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress to prevent him from praying in the streets and preaching the Gospel. He and his wife are reportedly in a mountainous area officially "on holiday".


Volunteers from the Burmese diocese of Hpa-an and the Thai diocese of Chiang Mai are promoting cross-border humanitarian operations along the Salouen river, bringing food and medicine to displaced and refugee families in the Myanmar jungle, just over the border. There are at least 1.3 million people in the country who have fled their homes, more than a million since the military coup in 2021. 


According to a Moscow Times report, several sanctioned Putin oligarchs, including Ališer Usmanov, Sergei Čemezov and the spokesman Dmitry Peskov himself, have managed to save hundreds of millions of euro in capital abroad. All thanks to an offshore network organised by the Bridgewaters company on the British self-governing Isle of Man.


Turkmen President Serdar Berdymukhamedov complained about the 'excessively long cotton harvesting times'. A warning that follows the example of his father and predecessor, who every year at this time spurred the regions to forced labour for the production of the so-called 'white gold' and dismissed several high officials of the local administrations for demonstrative purposes.

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