03/11/2023, 13.37
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Saudi Arabia and Iran resume diplomatic relations (with China mediating)

Today's news: Hong Kong jails three activists who organised Tiananmen vigils while releasing Elizabeth Tang on bail; Thai authorities issue a pollution alert; Japan remembers the victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster on the 12th anniversary of the accident; Indian police arrest three people in connection with the death of a Muslim man, lynched for allegedly transporting beef.


Historical rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran have agreed to resume diplomatic relations seven years after they were broken off. The announcement follows four days of talks in China. Ties were cut in January 2016 when protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran following the execution of a senior Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia.


Under China’s national security law, the authorities in Hong Kong today jailed for four and a half months three former members of a pro-democracy group that held annual vigils in memory of the victims of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. The three are Chow Hang-tung, 38, a former vice chairperson of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, Tang Ngok-kwan and Tsui Hon-kwong. Meanwhile, trade unionist Elizabeth Tang, a Catholic, was released on bail but had to surrender her passport.


Thai authorities have issued a pollution alert after smog and fog blanketed some of the country's main cities for weeks, particularly Bangkok and some northern cities. Children and pregnant women have been advised to stay indoors and people have been told to reduce activities and wear protective masks outdoors.


The Japanese remembered the victims of the Fukushima disaster of 11 March 2011. A magnitude 9 earthquake triggered a tsunami which in turn caused a nuclear accident. In total, 18,500 people died or went missing. Although this was the worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl (1986), public support for nuclear power is growing in the country.


Indian police arrested three people in Bihar in connection with the death of a Muslim man who was attacked for allegedly transporting beef. The victim, 56-year-old Naseem Qureshi, was lynched by a mob. Cows are considered sacred in Hindu tradition and in many Indian states, sales and consumption of beef are restricted.


After US Secretary Blinken's visit to Ankara, Turkey began blocking all cargo shipments to Russia from Europe to check that international sanctions are enforced. This covers more 10,000 items, especially electronics, chemicals and industrial equipment.


The Uzbek parliament wants to hold a referendum on 30 April on a new constitution agreed upon by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and representatives of the two bicameral body. This follows public consultations over recent months. The new charter will include considerable changes, with the addition of 27 new articles bringing the total to 155.

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