Macao, Covid outbreak at Grand Lisboa: world's biggest casino closes
Today's headlines: Pope says China-Vatican agreement on bishops not ideal, but hopes it will be renewed; Japan develops an app for smartphones that automatically deletes images of underage nudity; Vietnamese police have arrested the famous blogger and activist Nguyen Lan Thang; a "discount war" on oil looms between Tehran and Moscow; in Sri Lanka, cooking with wood returns.
MACAO - CHINA
Macao has closed the Grand Lisboa, the world's largest casino, due to a Covid outbreak. Dozens of positives registered yesterday, the virus is rapidly spreading throughout the peninsula. Another 16 buildings in the special administrative region under lockdown, with entry and exit bans, 13 thousand in quarantine. Mass testing and the spectre of restrictions return to mainland China, including Shanghai.
The economic crisis in Sri Lanka is prompting more and more citizens to return to the use of firewood for cooking. The shift took place at the beginning of the year, when more than a thousand cookers exploded, killing at least seven people. The incidents were caused by an increase in propane to save costs, but ended up raising the pressure to dangerous levels.
A smartphone application resulting from a collaboration between Fujita Health University and Smartbooks Inc automatically deletes photos and videos of child nudity. And it sends an alert message to parents and guardians of children. The app will be ready for use by the end of the year and aims to combat the phenomenon - growing in the Rising Sun - of sexual exploitation.
Police arrested a prominent political activist and blogger yesterday. Nguyen Lan Thang is facing charges of 'propaganda' against the state, amid growing repression in Hanoi against dissent and voices critical of the communist leadership. Friends celebrate him as a 'pro-democracy fighter' and leader of protests against Chinese 'imperialism'.
CHINA - VATICAN
Pope Francis ssays the agreement between China and the Vatican on the appointment of bishops is "not ideal", but the hope is that it can be "renewed soon", by October at the latest, because the Church is looking to the long term. The Pope said as much in an interview with Reuters, returning to the pact signed in 2018, that must be renewed by the parties every two years. The details have never been made public.
IRAN - RUSSIA
Tehran has thrown itself into the 'discount war' with Russia, a country under sanctions like the Islamic Republic, in exporting oil to alternative destinations to the West. So far, the Russian Urals' product has appeared to be the cheapest for Asian buyers, but Iranian Light and Iranian Heavy are levelling the playing field.
The Caspian region has become one of the crucial areas for the world economy from the point of view of oil and gas extraction and export. As academician Fakhreddin Gadirov warns, the exploitation of these resources is leading to geo-ecological threats, with rising water levels and the risk of a drought similar to Lake Azov.