04/11/2024, 09.14
ASIA TODAY
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Israel-Indonesia talks on normalising relations for OECD membership

Today's news: Hong Kong denied access to a Reporters Without Borders representative, who was searched and then deported; At least 16% of the candidates in the first phase of the Lok Sabha vote have pending criminal cases; Taiwan earthquake death toll rises to 16, over 1100 injured; The Houthis claim an attack on four boats in the Gulf, also a 'US warship'. 

ISRAEL - INDONESIA
Israel and Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, have begun in-depth talks over the past three months aimed at normalizing relations. This was reported by the Israeli website Ynetnews, according to which in exchange for official reports the Jewish State is ready to remove the block on Jakarta's entry into the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which is also involved in the discussion. On April 9, an Indonesian plane took part in an aid drop into Gaza, a first for a Jakarta aircraft in Israeli airspace.

HONG KONG
Hong Kong authorities have denied entry to a representative of Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Aleksandra Bielakowska, based in Taipei, was searched three times and questioned by immigration officials for six hours at the international airport, before being deported. In a note, RFS speaks of an "unprecedented" action for the former governorate which marks "a new decline in the already poor climate of press freedom in the territory".

INDIA
According to a report by Association for Democratic Reforms, at least 16% of the candidates in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections (252 out of 1618) have criminal cases pending against them. For at least 161 of them there are "serious" charges, including seven for murder, 19 attempted murder and 18 for violence against women. At the party level, the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 36% of candidates under investigation; 34% for the opposition Congress.

TAIWAN
The death toll from the 7.4 magnitude earthquake that struck the island of Taiwan on April 3 has risen to 16, after three more bodies were recovered by rescuers on a path frequented by hikers. Over 1100 injured. President Tsai Ing-wen visited Hualien to thank rescue workers and promise quick disaster relief for affected areas.

YEMEN - GULF
The Houthis have claimed responsibility for an attack in the Gulf of Aden on four vessels, including one they describe as a "US warship", with drones and missiles. Months of operations by Iran-linked rebel militias in the Red Sea in response to the conflict in Gaza have created major disruptions and delays to global shipping, forcing companies to reorganize routes.

SINGAPORE
Dengue cases in Singapore continue to rise, with numbers on the rise as demonstrated by the 416 cases recorded in a week between March 31 and April 6, 67 more than the previous week. Since the beginning of the year there have been over 5,500 in total, with at least seven deaths overall. In 2023, the total cases were 9949 with six victims. To date there are 90 active hemorrhagic fever clusters.

RUSSIA - MONGOLIA
After months of negotiations, Russia has decided to remove customs duties for trade with Mongolia, as communicated by the deputy prime minister of Ulaanbaatar Chimedin Khurelbaatar in a report before the Veliky Khural, the national state assembly. In a first phase, free trade will apply to meat products, fabrics and clothes and shoes.

UZBEKISTAN
On the occasion of the end of Ramadan, the president of Uzbekistan Šavkat Mirziyoyev granted pardon to 426 people including 11 foreigners and 3 minors. At the same time, the Guvd security services are conducting a series of sweeping checks in Tashkent, with arrests and searches, to counter threats related to religious extremism and terrorism.

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