South Korea: Leader of main opposition party indicted
Today's headlines: Beijing registers first population decline in since 2003; New US troop bases across the Philippines; Another Israeli air raid in the Aleppo area of Syria; A strong earthquake rocks Afghanistan and Pakistan; A Russian conscript is granted the right not to go into combat for religious reasons.
Prosecutors indicted Lee Jae-myung, head of the Democratic Party, the main opponent of the current government. Lee is accused of abuse of office and bribery for facts dating back to his term as mayor of Seongnam (south of the capital Seoul) years ago.
For the first time since 2003, Beijing recorded a decline in population. Last year, the capital had 5.72 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants, while births stopped at 5.67. The numbers are in line with the nation's demographic crisis, mainly the result of the 'one-child' policy, which was still in force a few years ago.
President Ferdinand Marcos jr said that the four new logistical bases for US troops will be set up throughout the country, including a province bordering the South China Sea. Manila has territorial disputes with China over the vast body of water.
A new Israeli air raid took place near Aleppo, in the north-west of Syrian territory. An area near the local airport, already the target of a recent attack, was hit. According to intelligence sources, an arms depot run by Iranian units was targeted.
A 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the eastern Afghan provinces last night causing 13 deaths and 90 injuries. The earthquake was also felt in India, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan.
A conscript from St Petersburg, 23-year-old Pavel Mušumanskij, managed to have a court recognise his right not to take part in war actions "because of his religious convictions". The reason: having been raised in the deepest Christian faith since childhood. "By taking up arms, God will then ask me why I have taken other men's lives, for the sake of which He Himself died," he said.
The fourth Georgian president, Georgij Margvelašvili, commented on the recent disagreements over the 'foreign agents' law, stating that the ruling Georgian Dream party is not in a position to make any decisions: 'Everything is decided personally by its founder Bidzina Ivanišvili, who only consults with the Kremlin on everything'.