03/20/2024, 09.08
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Taipei: Three 'huge' Chinese military bases surround Taiwanese territory in the Spratlys

Today's news: At least 15 Palestinians killed in Israeli raid on Nuseirat refugee camP; In India, water reservoirs are at their lowest levels in five years; Pyongyang launches "super-large" rockets capable of hitting Seoul; Villagers in Laos accuse Chinese company of polluting the Mekong.

Beijing has built "huge" military bases on three islands surrounding Taiwan's main possession (Itu Aba, an island in the Spratlys) in the South China Sea. Taipei's Foreign Minister said this today, underlining that the government is ready to defend sovereignty but at the same time trying to ease tension. Taiwan also controls the Pratas Islands in the north, an area where both the Chinese air force and navy operate regularly to assert territorial claims.

Authorities in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province in the south are blocking renovation work on a 35-year-old Buddhist pagoda because the religious group that owns it is not registered and recognized by the state. According to the Law on Religions 2016 and the 2020 amendments, religious buildings must apply for building permits only in the case of new works.

At least 15 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli air raid that hit a house in the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza yesterday evening. Meanwhile, according to an ILO report, the war has fueled unemployment, which exceeds 50% in the West Bank and the Strip. In Gaza, around 200 thousand jobs were lost, almost two thirds. In the West Bank - in conditions of almost "lockdown" - over 300 thousand jobs have been lost, equal to a third of the total for the Palestinian population of the area.

India's major reservoirs mark their lowest levels for March in five years. Government data indicate a possible squeeze on drinking water and, more generally, on energy availability for next summer. The 150 reservoirs monitored by Delhi - the country's main source of hydropower - were filled to only 40% capacity last week.

Kim Jong-un oversaw a multiple-launch exercise of "super-large" nuclear-capable rockets, designed to also hit the South Korean capital. The North Korean dictator also said he wanted to increase the deterrent force in a phase of escalation of tension between Pyongyang and Seoul. Yesterday, South Korea and Japan complained about an increase in launches of short rocket launchers from the North.

Residents of Nam Xong village in Pak Lay district, northern Xayaburi province accuse a Chinese-owned cassava processing plant of discharging polluted water into the Mekong, making the river dark and smelly. The spill prevents fishing and plagues the area. The problem has persisted for years, they complain, but "no one has intervened".

According to the "Important Stories" website, approximately 22 million votes received by Vladimir Putin were falsified. The data would be the result of checks with the method of the physicist Sergei Shpilkin, who compares the correspondence between the turnout at the polling stations and the voting percentages, in which the more people come to vote, the more the preferences for the strong candidate artificially increase.

Azerbaijan is the safest country in the world according to the 2024 ranking of the economic institute Global Terrorism Index, occupying the lowest level with a score of "0" together with Denmark, Finland and Qatar. The most dangerous are Burkina Faso (8,571), Israel and Mali, followed by Pakistan, Syria and Afghanistan, the United States and Russia in the middle of the table.

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