11/12/2022, 11.11
ASIA TODAY
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UN: winter of 'extreme hardship' for displaced persons and refugees in Middle East

Today's headlines: Chinese influence grows in Cambodia with compulsory Mandarin; Indian supreme court releases six people in jail for 30 years for Gandhi murder; after days of violence Manila and Milf sign ceasefire; ultraconservative Russian philosopher Dugin speculates 'ritual killing' of Putin in case of military defeat in Ukraine. 

MIDDLE EAST

Millions of people displaced by conflict and persecution in the Middle East risk facing "extreme hardship" in the run-up to winter, warns the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), which says the coming season is "far more difficult than in previous years". At risk are 3.4 million displaced Syrians and Iraqis, but the most critical situation is in Lebanon.

ASIA

While in Egypt world leaders discuss climate, biodiversity and environmental emergencies at Cop27, in Asia the multi-billion dollar illegal trade in wildlife (rare and protected) continues - and grows -, a practice that is particularly widespread in China, Vietnam and Laos. Among the animals at the centre of the trade are the pangolin, the rhinoceros and parts of the tiger also used for traditional medicines and ornaments. 

CHINA - CAMBODIA

Chinese influence is growing in Cambodia: the study of Mandarin will be compulsory in public high schools, amid protests from teachers who fear a hegemony of the dragon. Beijing and Phnom Penh have signed an 18-point memorandum, which includes education. The foreign languages studied so far are English, French and Korean in only six institutions in the kingdom. 

INDIA - SRI LANKA

The Supreme Court released for "good behaviour" after 30 years six persons convicted for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was killed in a suicide attack in Tamil Nadu in 1991. Responsible for the attack were members of the Tamil Tigers (LTTE), a Sri Lankan separatist group that wanted to hit him for sending soldiers. Three had received capital punishment, later commuted. 

PHILIPPINES

Manila and Moro Islamic Front (Milf) rebels signed a ceasefire agreement after days of intense fighting. The toll is seven dead (three soldiers, four militiamen) and dozens injured. The clashes have shaken the decade-long peace process in Mindanao, reopening wounds from the separatist past. A 'communication error' triggered the violence.

RUSSIA

The ultraconservative philosopher Aleksandr Dugin speculated that an eventual Russian defeat in Ukraine could result in a 'ritual killing' of President Vladimir Putin. He then called the withdrawal from Kherson a 'betrayal' and 'a step towards Armageddon', for which the Moscow leadership must take responsibility.

KYRGYZSTAN 

The first world championships of Sambo, a martial art of Soviet origin, have kicked off in Biškek. Champions from more than 50 countries are taking part in the three disciplines of men's, women's and warrior wrestling. In addition to the former Soviet countries, many South Americans are also represented, along with Great Britain, Australia and some African countries such as Mali and Djibouti. 

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