11/24/2022, 09.23
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Malaysia: king appoints Anwar Ibrahim to form government

Today's headlines: President Yoon wants to make South Korea the world's fourth largest arms exporter, in Taiwan local election candidates have their pictures taken with vegetables, Spain grants over 100,000 visas to Russian citizens, public floggings return to Afghanistan; Pakistani premier appoints the new army chief.



Anwar Ibrahim is the new Prime Minister of Malaysia, and will be sworn in at 5pm (local time). The appointment by King Abdullah puts an end to days of stalemate after the 19 November elections. His party, Pakatan Harapan, did not win enough seats to rule alone, but it is not yet clear with which party he will enter a coalition.


South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol plans to increase arms exports and produce state-of-the-art defence technology to make South Korea the world's fourth largest arms exporter after the US, Russia and France. These statements come four months after South Korea concluded its biggest ever deal with Poland, which will receive howitzers and tanks.


Taiwanese election candidates have a mania for having their pictures taken with baskets of vegetables, but why? It has to do with the passion for homophonic words - pronounced identically, but with different meanings. Garlic sounds like the word 'chosen'. Radish daikon (tsai-tao) is similarly pronounced almost like 'good luck', while pineapple means 'prosperity'. Local elections in Taiwan will be held this weekend.


Vinay Mohan Kwatra, Indian foreign secretary, visited Burmese coup leader Min Aung Hlaing in Naypyitaw in recent days. According to the Burmese state press, the two, despite the sanctions imposed on the Burmese regime, talked about a possible direct exchange between kyat and rupee to foster greater bilateral cooperation in terms of trade and investment.


The Taliban publicly flogged 12 people, including several women accused of adultery, sodomy and theft. The flogging took place in the provincial sports stadium in the city of Pul-e-Alam, Logar province, where people had gathered to watch. Journalists were not allowed to follow the event and those who attempted to disseminate photos or videos were arrested.


Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif appointed Lieutenant General Asim Munir as army chief. Munir, already head of the intelligent, will replace General Qamar Javed Bajwa after six years. His appointment comes at a time of tension with former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who accuses the army of playing a role in his ouster from government in April this year.


Exports from China to Russia in 2022 saw a significant increase, around 13% over the previous year, to over USD 60 billion. Mainly machinery, trucks and road tyres are arriving, but supplies of smartphones and computers, and more advanced technologies in general, have dropped significantly.


Spain granted more than 100,000 Schengen visas to Russian citizens in 2022, three times more than the previous year, despite sanctions restrictions, for commercial and tourist reasons, although no comment on this circumstance comes from the government in Madrid, except for unofficial ones linking the increase to visa refusals in the Baltic countries.

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