06/01/2023, 09.43
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Taliban chief meets Qatari premier to break international isolation

Today's headlines: Seoul to overhaul warning systems after panic following yesterday's North Korean launch; Activists appeal against trials in Islamabad military courts of supporters of former premier Khan; Chinese authorities forcibly evict Tibetans for the construction of a dam; Companies in the Emirates now subject to profit tax; Kuala Lumpur ready to set up a 'war room' against the effects of El Nino.

The Afghan Taliban leader met for 'secret talks' with the Prime Minister of Qatar last month in an attempt to 'resolve' the ongoing tensions between Kabul and the international community, confirming the Koranic students' desire to end the isolation. The summit dates back to 12 May and took place in the city of Kandahar and was the first between a foreign leader and the Taliban chief. 

After yesterday's fiasco with the latest North Korean missile launch, Seoul intends to overhaul its warning systems. An erroneous message sent to the population had in fact caused confusion, widespread panic and complaints. The new programme will be based on the '5 Ws' (who, when, where, what, how and why), to allow an adequate response to Pyongyang's moves.

Don't try civilians in military courts. This is the appeal by Human Rights Watch (Hrw) activists to the government in Islamabad, because the practice violates international law. The reference is to the ongoing trial before military courts of at least 45 supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan. In the crosshairs are the "secret procedures" used by the courts, which "deny" due process. 

The authorities in Beijing have ordered Tibetans in Rebgong County, western China, to clear their land for the construction of a hydroelectric dam. There are many agricultural areas and cultivated fields in the area, which are the main source of livelihood for the local population. At least seven villages are affected by the expropriation. All forms of protest are forbidden. 

As of today, 1 June, companies and enterprises in the United Arab Emirates will be subject to tax on profits. Taxes will be calculated on an annual basis and, as the Tax Authority reports, will have the following rates: 0% on taxable income up to 375,000 dirhams (about 100,000 dollars); 9% on taxable income above 375,000 dirhams. Taxes are increasing across the Gulf. 

Kuala Lumpur wants to set up a 'war room' to monitor the water levels of dams nationwide in anticipation of the phenomenon known as El Nino, which is expected to start this month until October, with prolonged drought and serious effects on water reserves. The room will be operational from 14 June. The past few weeks have seen scorching temperatures and less rainfall. 

As a result of the war in Ukraine, prices for funeral services in Russia have risen dramatically, in particular for coffins, which have increased by more than 52% according to Rosstat, up to USD 6,000. Grave digging up to 8 thousand dollars, cremation 30 thousand. Behind the increases is the ever-increasing cost of materials, from wood to aluminium, which used to come from Ukraine. 

In the Chinese city of Yangling, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Forum on Poverty Alleviation, entitled 'Exchanges for Mutual Enrichment. Collaboration for Victory'. Representatives from Kyrgyzstan, with the Minister of Labour Žyldyz Polotova, and Uzbekistan, with Vice-Premier Džamšid Kučkarov, also attended.

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