12/23/2023, 11.29
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Kashmir: Internet suspended after video show three people tortured to death

Today's headlines: Laos’s debt tops 112 per cent of its GDP. Chechnya starts to take in Palestinian refugees. Malaysia wants to attract more wealthy foreign retirees. All of Japan’s prefectures, except Tokyo, will see a population decline by 2050 over 2020. China blocks some flights between Russia and China.


The Internet was shut down in the Poonch and Rajouri districts in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, which borders Pakistan and China, at dawn today to enable security forces to carry out a massive search operation to track down the terrorists who allegedly coordinated a recent ambush of two army vehicles that left five soldiers dead. The Internet shutdown reportedly came following the death of three people arrested by the Indian army for questioning, whose torture was filmed and posted online, sparking outrage in the local population.


Laos’s national debt has risen to 112 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP), a critical level that could rise further as the country struggles with high inflation, a weak currency, and low foreign investment, officials from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank said. Debt could soon reach 125% of GDP, the World Bank noted in a December report. Just over half of this is owed to China, which helped Laos build the US$ 6 billion Lao-China High Speed Railway between the two countries as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.


The Russian Republic of Chechnya has decided to set up a structure called "Palestinian autonomy" for refugees from the Gaza Strip, said Akhmed Dudayev, Chechen Minister of National Policy, External Relations, Press and Information, explaining that "we do not look at religion, the important thing is mutual respect".


The Malaysian government plans to relax residence visa requirements to attract more wealthy foreign retirees to the country. However, the government has yet to announce the full list of requirements for the revamped Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme introduced in 2002. The long-term visa system for foreigners who want to buy property and reside in Malaysia was temporarily halted in August 2020 pending review by the government led by then-Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.


All 47 of Japan's prefectures, except Tokyo, will see a demographic decline by 2050 from 2020 levels, this according to the National Institute for Population Institute of Population and Social Security Research. In particular, 11 prefectures will see their populations shrink by more than 30 per cent, while the number of residents of 20 per cent of Japanese municipalities could more than halve.


Chinese authorities have decided not to accept flights by Russian airline Rossiya to Beijing from the Siberian cities of Krasnoyarsk, Vladivostok, and Irkutsk, as they lack agreements for the maintenance of their planes by international companies, this despite the fact that tickets were sold starting in November.


International Resources Holdings (IRH), a UAE state-owned fund, will invest US$ 1.1 billion in Zambia's Mopani copper mines in exchange for 51 per cent ownership. Zambia chose IRH as its partner when it went looking for a new investor after it bought out Glencore, a Swiss commodities company, in 2021 for US$ 1.5 billion.


Hong Kong recorded its lowest seasonal temperature so far, with the mercury dropping to 8.1 degrees Celsius (46.6 Fahrenheit) in urban areas. The Hong Kong Observatory said a winter monsoon was the cause of the cold weather, adding that temperatures in Kowloon, Sai Kung, Sha Tin, and Tai Po dropped as low as 6 degrees.

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