12/01/2022, 13.42
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Philippines, Marcos jr challenges Beijing over exploitation of resources in the South China Sea

Today's headlines: new lockdowns in Shanghai; South Korea: truckers' strike is costing .2 billion; Gujarat elections start: test for Modi; US opposes Turkish operation against Syrian Kurds; Ukrainian authorities control pro-Moscow Orthodox churches; New Green Party in Georgia.



Ferdinand Marcos Jr said his country must find ways to exploit the oil and gas resources in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims almost in full. According to the Philippine president, Manila must pursue exploration activities even without an agreement with the Chinese.


AsiaNews sources reveal that neighbourhoods in Shanghai have once again gone into lockdown. The news comes as authorities in Guangzhou and Chongqing have decided to ease anti-pandemic restrictions after days of widespread protests by the population. Meanwhile, the communist leadership is showing signs that it may soften its draconian Covid zeroing policy.


The ongoing strike by South Korean truck drivers is already costing .2 billion in lost deliveries, the Ministry of Industry has calculated. About 20,000 truck drivers have been at a standstill for eight days while the government and unions are far from reaching an agreement.


State elections open today in Gujarat, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was chief minister for almost 13 years. In all likelihood his BJP (Hindu nationalist) will retain control of the state. A good result is expected from the Aam Aadmi Party, which governs Delhi and Punjab. The election round, divided into two rounds, is seen as a national test for the prime minister.


US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed Washington's strong opposition to a new Turkish military operation against the Syrian Kurds. The Pentagon also denounced Ankara's air strikes in north-eastern Syria as a threat to US troops supporting the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.


Searches by the Ukrainian military services continue in the Orthodox churches most closely linked to the Moscow Patriarchate, where propaganda materials were found denying the existence of the Ukrainian people, their language and culture. The seminary in Počaev and the pro-Moscow churches in the western diocese of Ivano-Frankivsk were targeted.


A new centre-left 'Green' party has been founded, whose leaders claim it is the "first openly feminist and queer formation" in the Caucasian country. The presentation took place in Tbilisi's 'Mtkvardze' club, and the main speaker was 27-year-old Tamar Džakeli, who recently returned from studies in the USA and Sweden.

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