Myanmar junta troops torch 10 villages in Sagaing region
The other news of the day: Chinese military exercises around Taiwan continue. Torrential rains hit South Korea. Political crisis breaks out in the Indian state of Bihar. Palestinian security officer is killed in a refugee camp in Lebanon. The Vatican and the Russian Patriarchate are working on a meeting between Pope Francis and Kirill.
In the first week of August, junta troops torched 500 homes in 10 villages in the Sagaing region, the scene of major clashes between the military and groups opposed to the February 2021 coup. Due to the raids, 5,000 people fled the area. An 80-year-old woman who burnt to death is among the victims.
TAIWAN – CHINA
China continued its air and naval exercises in the skies and waters around Taiwan today. The drill, which began on 4 August in response to the visit to Taiwan of Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, was supposed to end on 7 August. Today's manoeuvres focused on blockades and resupply logistics.
Eight people died in the heaviest torrential rains in 80 years with six are missing. The most affected areas are the capital, Seoul, the port of Incheon, and Gyeonggi Province.
The populous state of Bihar is facing a political crisis. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, leader of the Janata Dal, is considering quitting the governing alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Hindu nationalist party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
PALESTINE – LEBANON
A Palestinian security officer was killed last night in a refugee camp in southern Lebanon. Said Alaadin was trying to mediate between different factions in Ain el-Hilweh, where the Lebanese authorities do not exercise full control. In recent years, clashes have broken out in the camp in question between groups favourable to Fatah of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Islamist groups.
RUSSIA – VATICAN
Russian media were full of commentaries in favour of the meeting between Pope Francis and Metropolitan Anthony, "foreign minister" of the Moscow patriarchate. Anthony's deputy, Protopresbyterian Nikolai Balashov, said the tête-à-tête took place "on the initiative of the Vatican,” and was "fruitful and open to the future," especially regarding the upcoming meeting between Francis and Patriarch Kirill in Nur-Sultan.
KYRGYZSTAN – MEXICO
The number of Kyrgyz trying to enter the United States from Mexico is rising. It is relatively easy to travel from the Central Asian country to Mexico despite the high cost of plane tickets. Many of the migrants are women with children, often wives of Kyrgyz men recruited by the Russian military to fight in Ukraine for pay substantially above their country's average salary.