12/05/2023, 09.46
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Myanmar: junta blocks humanitarian aid in Loikaw

Today's news: the Hong Kong government wants to prosecute activist Agnes Chow in Canada too. Israel accuses Hamas of using sexual violence as a weapon of war. After the death of 6 Nepalese soldiers in the Russian army, the Himalayan country has asked Moscow to no longer recruit its citizens. A cyclone in India has caused at least 9 deaths and displaced 8,000 people.


The military junta has banned humanitarian vehicles - loaded with food and medicine - from entering the city of Loikaw in Myanmar, as clashes between the army and the resistance  intensify. The situation would have led to a real humanitarian crisis in the capital of the state of Kayah, reported the NGOs present on site. Who denounce: "There are no more volunteers for humanitarian aid, because we all fear for our safety." According to estimates by these organizations, more than 10 thousand civilians remained trapped in the city in the midst of the fighting.


The Hong Kong government has vowed to prosecute pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow after she announced plans to remain "in exile" in Canada. Today John Lee, Hong Kong's chief executive, said he had "granted clemency to Chow by allowing her to study in Toronto while she is free on bail under the national security law." But the attempt to grant lenient treatment to the activist ended in "complete deception", he claimed. Chow was arrested in 2020 along with pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai on charges of collusion with foreign forces.


“Hamas had a premeditated plan to use sexual violence as a weapon of war.” This is supported by Professor Ruth Halperin-Kaddari - from the law faculty of Bar-Ilan University - who studied the videos of the October 7 attacks on women. The videos of her left her "no doubt" that they had been raped. The teacher and women's rights activist also expresses anger at the delay of United Nations bodies in recognizing the use of sexual violence as weapons by Hamas. In support of this thesis, the Israeli police say they have collected more than 1,500 testimonies from women and doctors. Hamas denies the accusations.


After the death - presumably in Ukraine - of 6 Nepalese soldiers in the Russian army, the country asked Moscow to no longer recruit its citizens and to immediately send those still present in its ranks back to the Himalayan nation. Called Gurkhas, they are known for their fighting skills, and served in the British and Indian armies after independence in 1947 under an agreement between the three countries. However, the Himalayan nation has no such agreement with Russia, which invaded neighboring Ukraine in February 2022 and has been engaged in a war ever since.


Heavy rains have swamped roads in southern India, where at least nine people, including a child, have been killed. This happened due to the passage of Cyclone Michaung which has wind gusts of up to 110 km/h. The forecast is for over 200mm of rain in the next 24 hours. At least 8,000 people have been evacuated.


According to a poll by the Khronika project, fewer and fewer Russians are in favor of continuing the war in Ukraine, currently at 12% compared to 22% last February, however many fewer than those openly against it. And for the first time those in favor of a withdrawal of troops without victory prevail, 40% against 33%.


A bus lost control and crashed into a tree in Thailand, killing 14 passengers and injuring more than 20. The accident occurred in the western province of Prachuap Khiri Khan. "All the injured are hospitalized", reads the police statement which adds: "an investigation into the causes of the accident is underway".


The Spanish newspaper El Mundo reports that in 2023 Spain purchased a record quantity of Russian gas, 6 times more than in 2018, the previous record in the country's history, becoming together with Belgium the largest buyer of Russian gas after China.

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