06/21/2022, 09.17
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Israel calls new elections for October

Today's headlines: flood emergency continues in Bangladesh and southern China; Cambodia ignores a Burmese civil society appeal against the presence of generals at the Asean summit; Thailand accuses a former MP of lese majesty; Hong Kong's historic Jumbo floating restaurant sinks.




Israel's governing coalition has collapsed: parliament will vote to dissolve the Knesset, paving the way for new elections, the fifth in three years, which could be held Oct. 25. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will be replaced on an interim basis by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. Back in April, the Israeli government, made up of a variety of parties that share opposition to Nethanyahu, lost its majority.


The Jumbo floating restaurant, a historic landmark in Hong Kong, has sunk. It had resumed sailing in recent days but sank near the Paracelsus Islands. Closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic, it had been operating at a loss since 2013, although it had welcomed several celebrities and more than 3 million visitors over the years.


More than 4 million people, including 1.6 million children, are in urgent need of aid due to the floods that have hit Bangladesh for days. "Children need clean water. Prevention of deadly waterborne diseases is one of the many concerns," said Sheldon Yett, Unicef representative in the country. In the northeastern division of Sylhet, 90 percent of health facilities have been flooded and schools have been closed.


Heavy flooding has also affected southern China: more than 200,000 people were evacuated and damage was estimated at 4 million, Chinese media reported. According to the National Meteorological Center, such high average rainfall has not been seen since 1961. Production, already strained by controls for Covid-19, also slowed.


Police yesterday charged a former opposition MP with lese majesty for posting a tweet in October calling for reform of the monarchy. Piyabutr Saengkanokkul is the second member of the now-disbanded Future Forward Party to be charged with defamation against the crown, a crime that carries a 15-year prison term.


Cambodia has ignored an appeal by Burmese civil society calling for the exclusion of coup general Mya Tun Oo from the upcoming Asean summit. More than 600 organizations signed a letter asking Phnom Penh not to legitimize the military junta. Mya Tun Oo, who acts as the regime's defense minister, is among the personalities to whom the European Union, the United States and other countries have applied sanctions.


Turkmenistan's new president Serdar Berdymuhamedov is showing himself to be much more intransigent in various circumstances than his father Gurbanguly: he caused a stir when he fired his aunt, the sister of former president Gulbanat Dovletova, as president of the Red Crescent for bad relations with his cousin Šamurad, known as "Šammi-the limitless," who used his mother's association for smuggling cigarettes, canned goods, and other miscellaneous items.


The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UPZ) considers the annexation of Crimea's eparchies to Moscow a "form of populism," as Nežinsk Metropolitan Kliment (Večera) put it, who said that "this is a passing phenomenon; the Crimean priests and faithful are Ukrainian patriots and will continue to recognize our Church in Kiev."

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