03/25/2023, 09.48
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Turkey: few registrations, displaced earthquake victims' vote at risk

Today's headlines: After conviction for defaming Modi, Raoul Gandhi also suspended from his parliamentary seat; In Pakistan tension in Lahore over new demonstration by Imran Khan's party; In South Korea sharp drop in youth at Mass after pandemic; Russia and Kazakhstan at loggerheads over fee for use of Bajkonur space base.


Of the nearly two million people displaced by the Feb. 6 earthquake, only 345,977 people have changed their addresses to be recognized voters in the districts where they were resettled. The figure-reported by Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay-is a concern for Turkey's Human Rights Foundation (TİHV), which considers it "worrisome" in terms of the earthquake victims' ability to exercise their citizenship rights' and calls on authorities to take all necessary steps to facilitate voting.


A day after being convicted by a Gujarat court in a defamation case against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi was also suspended from the Indian Parliament. Under Indian law if an MP is sentenced to a term of at least two years, he can be disqualified. If not overturned, the conviction could also result in Gandhi being barred from participating in elections for at least six years. India is scheduled to hold general elections in spring 2024.


Another day of high tension is expected for a new large demonstration called by Imran Khan at the Minar-i-Pakistan in Lahore. The PTI leader is expected to announce his next political moves after the clash in recent days over his judicial affairs. The rally comes after in a move contested by Khan local elections in Punjab, originally scheduled for April 30, were postponed to Oct. 8.


A large-screen digital artwork that contained secret references to local dissidents has been removed in Hong Kong. "No Rioters" by U.S. artist Patrick Amadon had been displayed last week outside a department store. Last week, the artist revealed the deception, which involved putting the names of jailed activists in flashing text that could not be seen with the naked eye. Amadon said the removal of the work "completed" his political message about the crackdown on civil liberties in the city.


Sunday Mass attendance among young Catholics in South Korea has declined by 17 percent compared to years before the Covid-19 pandemic. A survey by the Catholic Bishops' Conference research institute found that 36.1 percent of young Catholics in their 20s and 30s attend Sunday Mass in 2023 compared to 53.2 percent recorded before the pandemic.


Russia could pull out of the Bajkonur astronaut base in Kazakhstan, the center of all Soviet and Russian space successes from last century to the present. The joint-use agreement with the Kazakhs would only expire in 2050, but the two partners are at the breaking point: Astana is demanding million.


Armenian PM Pasinyan sent his remarks on the peace agreement, which includes a solution to the Lačin corridor issue, back to Baku, reiterating the need to "activate effective international negotiating mechanisms" to avoid new provocations. Azerbaijan considers it "a waste of time."

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