06/05/2024, 09.45
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Seoul will resume military activities along the Korean Demarcation Line

Today's news: Burmese army goes after gold traders and real estate agents; Malaysians ingest the largest quantities of microplastics; Body recovery operations in Papua New Guinea suspended due to risk of new landslides; Taliban demolish IDPs' homes; A pro-Kurdish mayor is arrested in Turkey; China continues to do business in Central Asia.


South Korea will resume all military activities along the demarcation line (separating the country from North Korea) after suspending a 2018 peace agreement. The decision, made following Pyongyang's sending of rubbish balloons, will allow Seoul to draw up training plans and carry out exercises to strengthen frontline defence in an area that had been considered a buffer zone between the two Koreas for the past five years.


The Myanmar junta over the past two days arrested 35 people trading in gold, foreign currency and selling property abroad, accused of destabilising the exchange rate of the kyat, the Burmese currency. According to state media, those arrested include five people accused of illegally selling condominium units in Thailand. Last week, the kyat hit an all-time low with an exchange rate of 1 to 4,500 dollars on the black market, against 2,100 dollars at the Central Bank of Myanmar.


Malaysians ingest more microplastics than most countries in the world, a recent study revealed, eating an average of 502.3 mg of microplastics per day, 50 per cent of which comes from eating fish. A major source of microplastics in ocean waters is the mismanagement of plastic waste runoff from landfills. The authors also pointed out that by removing 90 per cent of plastic debris, the intake of microplastics can be reduced by more than 48 per cent in south-east Asian nations.


According to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), in Kabul, the Taliban started to demolish IDP settlements, leaving more than 800 families, about 6,000 people, homeless. The NRC urged the Taliban to immediately stop the ongoing evictions. At the end of 2023, there were 4.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) due to conflict and violence and 1.5 million people displaced due to natural disasters, to which were added about 600,000 Afghans expelled from Pakistan in recent months.


The bodies of hundreds of inhabitants buried by the landslide in Papua New Guinea in recent days will not be recovered, the authorities announced this morning, describing the rescue operations as ‘too dangerous’. ‘All efforts to recover the bodies have been cancelled due to the danger,’ said army major Joe Aku, citing the risk of further landslides. After this decision, the real toll of the disaster will probably never be known.


Clashes erupted in parliament in Ankara after Mehmet Siddik Akis, Kurdish mayor of the southeastern province of Hakkari on the Iran-Iraq border, who came to power two months ago after winning local elections, was arrested on Monday. The Turkish Interior Ministry said Akis allegedly played an important role within the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an organisation banned by Turkey, and replaced him with a civil servant, a move it had made previously. A fight broke out between MPs of the ruling AKP and the pro-Kurdish party DEM.


A province in the Siberian republic of Buryatia, the Mujskij Raion, is burning due to an impressive series of fires over almost 30 thousand hectares of forest, caused by the dry thunderstorms of the last few days with lightning discharges, while other areas near the rivers are devastated by floods, which have also submerged many roads, making rescue operations very difficult.


Kazakhstan has entrusted the Chinese company China Nonferrous Metal Industry with the construction of a new copper processing factory in the Abajsk region, for a volume of 300 thousand tonnes per year, in an agreement with Kaz Minerals Smelting in Pavlodar, at the signing of which Prime Minister Olžas Bektenov himself was present, and other similar agreements are expected.

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