02/17/2023, 10.04
ASIA TODAY
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Riyadh arrests dozens of tribals opposed to expropriations for Neom mega-city

Today's headlines: Beijing announced a 'decisive victory' against the Covid; At least 69 Rohingya land on the beaches of Aceh some people on board died during the crossing; Tokyo launches digital yen programme; Delhi officials after three days concluded inspections at BBC offices; Armenia and Turkey press to 'fully regulate' relations.

SAUDI ARABIA
At least 47 members of the Howeitat tribe in Saudi Arabia have been imprisoned or detained by the authorities for resisting the expropriation measure as part of the construction of the Neom mega-city. The activist NGO Alqst, in its report 'The Dark Side of Neom' published yesterday, lists the names of all those detained or disappeared for criticising the project or denouncing abuses. 

CHINA
Beijing announced in these hours the 'decisive victory' against the pandemic, after having abandoned the 'zero-Covid' policy - which had raised unusual and widespread protests in the country - at the end of November, recording an explosion of cases in the following weeks. More than 200 million citizens were infected and treated for the virus, of whom about 800,000 were seriously ill and recovered. 

INDONESIA - MYANMAR
A group of Rohingya refugees, at least 69 among them women and children, docked on an island on Indonesia's west coast. The wooden boat, UN sources explained, reached a beach in Aceh, after a long journey in which some people on board died. This is the sixth group since November. Thousands risk their lives every year to escape from Myanmar, where they are persecuted. 

JAPAN
Japan will launch a pilot programme in April to test the use of the digital yen, the Central Bank (BoJ) announced today. This policy follows the example of a growing number of countries, which are following China, which has so far been at the forefront in this field. As part of the pilot programme, the BoJ will conduct simulated transactions with private financial institutions. 

INDIA
Tax officials in India concluded their search of BBC offices in Delhi and Mumbai after three consecutive days, weeks after the British broadcaster aired a documentary critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Employees were instructed not to disclose information, while some staff members spent the night in the offices. 

RUSSIA 
A 20-year-old conscript soldier, Sergej Gridin, originally from Komi in northern Russia, took his own life in his barracks in Moscow province, after posting messages on Telegram in which he recounted the humiliation he suffered for his refusal to go to fight in Ukraine. He preferred 'to die in my own land, without other people's blood on my hands'.

ARMENIA - TURKEY
A meeting was held in Ankara between the foreign ministers of Turkey and Armenia, Çavuşoğlu and Mirzoyan. The latter stated that Yerevan intends to "completely regulate relations with Turkey", up to the establishment of diplomatic relations and the full opening of borders, and confirmed the Armenians' willingness to help with earthquake relief.

KAZAKHSTAN
The Ministry of Finance of Kazakhstan presented the 'National Fund for Children' project. Under the initiative, every Kazakh citizen, by birth, will have a dollar account, into which money will be paid annually from the National Fund, which collects assets from the energy sector, from the sale of oil, gas, timber and other resources of the country.

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