12/06/2022, 09.27
ASIA TODAY
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Jakarta passes law punishing sex outside marriage

Today's headlines: Tehran to execute more than 500 prisoners in 2022; new explosion in northern Afghanistan, at least seven dead and six injured; Chinese hackers stole millions from the US; Tokyo wants to increase defence budget by 56% in 2023-27; Moscow studies an 'atomic shelter' plan for the capital. 

INDONESIA

Jakarta today passed a law punishing sex outside marriage with penalties of up to one year in prison. The law is part of a reform that critics say undermines civil liberties in the world's third largest democracy (and most populous Muslim nation). It will apply to locals and foreigners alike; business groups fear it will undermine the country's image as a tourist destination. 

IRAN

Tehran carried out at least 504 death sentences in 2022, a figure far higher than the previous year and confirmation of the increasing use of capital punishment. According to Iran Human Rights (Ihr) there are other cases yet to be ascertained, with inmates killed by hanging. The last four executions date back to 4 December, for "collaboration" with Israel.

AFGHANISTAN

At least seven people were killed and six injured in an explosion today, which killed a vehicle carrying oil workers in the northern province of Balkhin. At the moment, there are no reports of any claims. Yesterday, meanwhile, the Taliban blamed an unidentified foreign fighter linked to the Islamic State (IS, formerly Isis) for the attack on the Pakistani embassy in Kabul. 

CHINA

Chinese hackers stole millions of euros from the United States, taking the money from funds intended for relief for the sick and victims of Covid-19. The confirmation comes from US intelligence, which confirms a report by NBC News that the team is known as APT41 or Winnti. The group conducted a mix of computer intrusions and data breaches for econnomic purposes. 

JAPAN

Tokyo wants to increase its defence budget by 56% within the next five years, to ¥43 trillion (approximately EUR 430 billion). The aim is to strengthen security systems in response to growing regional threats from North Korea and China with its expansionist policy. The sum is 1.5 times higher than the current spending plan of 27.5 trillion yen. 

RUSSIA

Throughout the city of Moscow, large loudspeakers are being installed on every corner these days, and new benches and seats are being placed in metro stations and underground car parks. Mayor Sobjanin refused to comment on these works, which, however, seem to be a prelude to a city 'atomic shelter' plan for the winter.

UZBEKISTAN - KYRGYZSTAN 

The presidents of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, Mirziyoyev and Žaparov, signed the ratification laws of the mutual border agreement, which includes the transfer of the Kempir-Abad water resources to Tashkent, which caused much protest among the Kyrgyz. The agreement covers over 300 km of border in 35 different border areas between the two countries.

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