12/07/2022, 11.21
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Tehran: former President Khatami supports anti-government protests

Today's headlines: Beijing loosens Covid-19 restrictions in bars, gyms and restaurants, asymptomatic and mild cases will be quarantined at home; Petronas gets the go-ahead for unconventional oil exploration in the Emirates; in South Korea, more and more single people will be living in 40% of households by 2050; after lengthy negotiations with the Azeris, Yerevan reopens the only direct link between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. 



A rare stance, but all the more significant given the source. Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, 79, supports the reasons for the protest and calls on the authorities to listen "before it is too late". He described the protesters' slogan 'woman, life, freedom' as 'beautiful', reflecting a society moving towards a better future, and criticised the arrests. 


Beijing has undertaken major relaxations of Covid-19 restrictions, allowing gyms and bars to reopen and meals in attendance in restaurants. It will not be necessary to show a negative tampon at the entrance of premises. The same applies for access to supermarkets, public buildings and areas, villages and residences. In the country asymptomatic or mild cases will be able to quarantine at home. 


Petronas got the go-ahead for the exploration of 'unconventional oil' (shale oil) in Abu Dhabi. Extracted by complex methods, it is mainly found in the West and Russia, but the emirate is looking to start the project after its success with unconventional gas. The Malaysian hydrocarbon giant will get 100 per cent of the operations for six years. 


By 2050, two out of five South Koreans will live alone, double the figures from the beginning of the millennium. The National Bureau of Statistics confirms the change in households, in a nation with the lowest fertility rate in the world. In 2021, there were 7.2 million singles, accounting for one third of all households. In 2000 the figure was 15.5 per cent and by mid-century it is expected to reach 40 per cent. 


At least nine people including five militiamen, two elements of the security forces and two civilians were killed in three separate attacks in north-west Pakistan. The first incident, according to army reports, occurred in a tribal district in North Waziristan. A firefight occurred in Bannu and the third in the Haidarkhel area, where a tribal elder died. 


Russian Communist deputy Viktor Makarov from Orel proposed to use stray dogs in the mobilisation, sending them to Ukraine 'to blow up tanks' with special training courses, but his own party comrades did not support his request. Some time ago Makarov himself had proposed sending all the strays to China.


After long negotiations with Azerbaijan, the Armenians managed to reopen the highway between Stepanakert and Goris. This is the only direct route between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, which will now also be passable in both directions for cargo vehicles, after the Azeris had long since blocked it 'for ecological reasons'.

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