08/18/2022, 09.59
ASIA TODAY
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Kabul, at least 10 killed and several wounded in mosque bombing. Imam dead

Today's headlines: Four Vietnamese activists, one a Christian, appeal sentence; Pyongyang sends 450 officials to political prisoner camps for spreading Covid; Putin bestows the title "heroic mother" on women who bear-or adopt-many children.

AFGHANISTAN

At least 10 people are dead and many others injured after a powerful explosion hit the Abu Bakr al Siddiqi mosque in Kabul's Khair Khana neighborhood. The blast occurred during evening prayer and reportedly claimed at least 20 lives, including the imam, but the toll is still provisional. The Taliban condemned the attack, which has yet to be claimed. 

VIETNAM

Four Vietnamese activists, including Christians, have lost their appeal against their preliminary conviction in the first instance. They are Y Wo Nie, Le Van Dung, Trinh Ba Phuong and Nguyen Thi Tam, on the stand for propaganda against the state, a charge used by Hanoi to crack down on dissidence. There are more than 60 religious freedom activists in jail cells, according to Defend the Defenders. 

CHINA

As part of the zero-Covid policy, Chinese authorities have imposed a hard lockdown in Xinjiang and Tibet to deal with a significant increase in cases over the last period. Yesterday alone, the western region recorded 2779 new infections, and in the capital Urumqi 73 districts are considered high-risk. Mass testing is also planned to contain the spread of the virus.

ISRAEL - PALESTINE

Israeli security forces killed a Palestinian youth this morning before dawn in clashes that erupted in Nablus, West Bank. The victim was 18-year-old Waseem Khalifa, originally from Balata refugee camp. At least 30 Palestinians were injured. The officers intervened to protect Jewish worshippers visiting the disputed tomb of Joseph. 

NORTH KOREA

At least 450 senior government officials and cadres were sent to detention centers for political prisoners in May for failing to block Covid. In the crosshairs was a photo taken by Kim Jong-un with a group of students and workers, one of whom was positive. For the detainees, who will never rejoin society, there is a charge of attacking the leader's security and a "counterrevolutionary" act. 

RUSSIA

President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to bestow the title of "heroic mother" on women who have ten or more children, who will be awarded compensation of one million rubles, more than 10,000 euros. And for those who adopt ten children there will be the order of "Parental Glory" with compensations between 200 and 500 thousand rubles.

 

AZERBAIJAN - ARMENIA

Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliev has announced that Baku will proceed with the repopulation of some centers in the disputed area with Armenians such as Lačin, Zabukh and Sus by installing new groups of Azerbaijani citizens. In this regard, a committee has already been formed to coordinate the operation with the former inhabitants of the villages affected by the plan.

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