05/24/2023, 10.07
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Seoul and Pyongyang in race for space

Today's Headlines: Delhi and Canberra sign pact on migration; In two years 380 new animal and plant species discovered in the Mekong; In Marawi, compensation for residents involved in 2017 fighting begins; In Afghanistan, a US programme that helped war victims closes down.


Seoul will launch the Nuri missile today to put eight satellites into orbit, after Pyongyang announced last month that it had completed its first military reconnaissance satellite, which it requested be launched into orbit to monitor US forces and their allies in Asia. "There is definitely a rivalry between the two Koreas in terms of what they are trying to create in space," explained military historian David Silbey.


Delhi and Canberra announced a new agreement on migration after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese discussed a number of issues around economic cooperation between the two countries, including mining. According to the latest, out of more than one million people who have moved to Australia since 2016, almost a quarter were from India.


Between 2021 and 2022, 380 new species of animals and plants were discovered in the Great Mekong reservoir, WWF said. The area through which one of Asia's most important rivers flows has always been known for its biodiversity: 3,300 new species have been recorded since 1997, although many are threatened with extinction.


The Marawi Compensation Board (MCB) yesterday signed implementing decrees to pay compensation to residents who were caught up in fighting between the army and Islamist militants in 2017. For five months, the city has been under siege. The payments, which will be tax-free upon approval by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will go to those who have lost their homes or relatives.


The US Agency for International Development (USAID) will close a million programme designed to help war victims in Afghanistan. The project, called COMAC, had started in 2018: over the past five years, more than 40,000 people have been provided with assistance. Although the programme was scheduled to end in 2023, staff reported several cases of interference by the Taliban.


As revealed by the CentralAsia website, there are currently three training ranges on Kazakhstan's territory with a total area of 8.6 million hectares, which Astana leases to Russia, where almost 1,000 Russian soldiers are constantly present. At the beginning of May, a Mažilis deputy, Serik Egizbaev, proposed that this land be put to agricultural use.


Armenian PM Pašinyan stated that 'Armenia will take the formal decision to leave the Csto (the Eurasian Military Alliance) when it has definitively established that the Csto has abandoned Armenia'. He expects a follow-up visit by the Alliance to monitor the situation of the conflict with Azerbaijan, and 'then we will make the final reckoning'.

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