01/22/2022, 09.31
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Vietnam mourns Zen master and pacifist Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh

Today's headlines: the Taliban arrest a woman in Kabul who had protested against the compulsory veil; Beijing cuts the Olympic torch relay, over "serious" Omicron alert; the Burmese junta hands death penalty to long-time democrat; the first anti-Covid restrictions in Tokyo and in various areas of the Land of the Rising Sun; Novosibirsk inaugurates a statue dedicated to one of the protagonists of Stalinist terror. 



Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and one of the most influential Zen masters, died this morning at his home in Tu Hieu Temple in Hue, in the centre of the country. He was 95 years old and spent most of his life spreading messages of peace, non-violence and compassion. He fought against war, lived in exile for a long time and was a victim of repression by the communist authorities.


The Taliban raided a flat in Kabul, arresting a woman known for her civil rights activism, together with her three sisters. The taget of the raid was Tamana Zaryabi Paryani who participated in a women's rights demonstration perceived as disparaging and intolerable for Koranic students. One of the reasons for the protest was the fight against the compulsory wearing of headscarves (hijab). 


The organisers of the Beijing Winter Games report that the relay race with the Olympic flame will take place inside a closed bubble, with no outside contact. Authorities are warning of a "serious" battle against Covid outbreaks linked to Delta and Omicron variants. Yesterday, the capital recorded seven symptomatic and five asymptomatic local transmission cases. 


Tehran is in talks with Russia over the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Iran to meet its energy needs. Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian discussed the matter with his counterpart Lavrov, proposing the development of "global cooperation" between the two countries. Diplomats speak of "excellent future cooperation" in many areas. 


A military court sentenced to death Kyaw Min Yu, a long-time politician, former member of parliament and one of the most prominent figures in the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi. He was one of the most prominent members of the civil government led by Aung San Suu Kyi and one of the leading exponents of Generation 88. 


To stem the escalation of Covid-19, bars and restaurants in Tokyo and a dozen other areas of the country will close earlier than usual. The measure is a kind of anticipation of the state of emergency, imposes the first restrictions from September and will be in force until 13 February. Okinawa, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi had imposed restrictions early in the new year. 


In Novosibirsk (Siberia), the authorities erected a monument at the request of the public prosecutor's office to one of the protagonists of Stalin's "great terror", Roman Rudenko, a member of the "special troika" that decided on deportations to the camps. The city's Fine Arts Council tried to oppose it, but those responsible wanted to put "ethical issues aside to honour a great fellow citizen".


Kyrgyzstan's president, Sadyr Žaparov, signed the final version of the country's new tax code, which was approved by Žogorku Keneš (the parliament in Biškek) at the end of December. The protests of entrepreneurs were to no avail, claiming that the new rules, which on paper aim to combat the "hidden" economy and tax evasion, are not very sustainable.

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