Laos, evangelical preacher found dead with signs of violent death
Today's headlines: explosions and car fires overnight in Istanbul; new riots against zero-Covid policy in Canton; growth rate slows in India, to 1.2% from 1.7% in previous decade; 30 months after outbreak on Diamond Princess in first phase of pandemic, Tokyo reopens to international cruises; 'euro 0' cars return to Kazakhstan without safety systems.
An evangelical preacher, recently arrested for proselytising, died under mysterious circumstances with signs of violence. Sy Seng Manee, 48, was picked up by two men and his motorbike abandoned at the edge of the forest in the village of Donkeo (Khammouane). Laos, a Buddhist-majority nation, allows freedom of worship, but Christians are often persecuted.
There were a series of mysterious explosions in the night in Istanbul, a city still scarred by the 13 November attack. Seven cars caught fire in the Fatih district, causing columns of smoke. The cause of the fire, which spread from one car to others in the vicinity and caused panic among the inhabitants, is unclear at the moment. Witnesses speak of multiple explosions at the origin of the fire.
New riots in China against the zero-Covid policy imposed by Beijing. In the industrial metropolis of Canton, in the south of the country, a crowd rebelled against the lockdowon and engaged in heavy clashes with the police. Videos of overturned police vehicles and torn-up isolation barriers have circulated on the net. Meanwhile, the escalation of contagions to the highest since April continues.
The world population has reached eight billion, driven by China and India, but from Delhi comes confirmation of a definite slowdown in growth. In some areas, local governments are rethinking their birth control policies. Average growth since 2011 has settled at 1.2%, down from 1.7% in the previous decade. And it is expected to fall in the near future.
After two and a half years, Tokyo lifts the ban on international cruise ships, which had been in place since a huge outbreak on the Diamond Princess (3711 passengers, more than 700 infected and 13 dead) in the early stages of the pandemic. The government has set guidelines for ship owners and port authorities and confirmed that the country is ready to reopen, but the timing is not yet known.
The 'Mažita Gafuri' drama theatre in Ufa, in the Russian republic of Bashkortostan, has cancelled a play based on the novel 'Zulejka Opens Eyes' by the well-known Tatar writer Guzela Jakhina, who had spoken out against the invasion of Ukraine that 'destroyed my world'. The theatre staff spoke out against her views
Kazakhstan has, like Russia, reduced the ecological standards of car production, going back to the 'Euro 0' level of the 1990s, even allowing safety airbags, auto-blocking systems and automatic warning signals to be removed from cars. The decree signed by Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov will be in force until 1 February 2023.