12/03/2021, 09.44
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West Papua, 8 students risk life imprisonment for waving independence flag


Today's headlines: Maria Ressa flies to Oslo to pick up the Nobel Prize; Delhi resumes construction of 7 hospitals after stop imposed by air quality; a case of espionage between Seoul and Pyongyang. 



Local authorities in West Papua yesterday arrested 8 students who flew the flag used by the region's independence supporters. If found guilty of treason, they face life in prison. Two days ago in a stadium in Jayapura an event was held to celebrate Papua's independence from Dutch colonial rule.


The Court of Appeal of the Philippines will allow Maria Ressa to fly to Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The journalist was allowed to stay in Norway for five days. Ressa had to receive clearance for charges against her by the Duterte administration.


Malaysia and India recorded the first case of variant omicron, South Korea made its version of green pass mandatory for a growing number of businesses, and Indonesia increased its quarantine period. The World Health Organization has warned that new cases will also increase in the Asia-Pacific region.


The Supreme Court gave the Delhi government the green light to resume construction of 7 hospitals that will be used to address the new wave of Covid-19. Construction had been suspended due to high pollution rates in the capital.


This morning in Japan there were two earthquake tremors: one of magnitude 4.8 near Mount Fuji and then a second one near Osaka.  There were no casualties or serious damage to infrastructure.


In late November, North Korean Song Chun-son was sentenced to three years in prison in South Korea for helping another refugee return to the North. She said she was coerced by the communist regime. The case illustrates the complexity of the espionage and counterintelligence relationship between Seoul and Pyongyang: she arrived in China in 2003 and was repatriated in 2007 and ended up in a labor camp. She had then arrived in the South in 2018.


Ali Bagheri Kani, the Iranian negotiator chosen by Tehran to attend the talks in Vienna, called for all U.S. sanctions imposed by the Trump administration to be lifted and added that Iran does not feel pressured to reach an agreement on its nuclear enrichment program.


In Almaty, Kazakhstan, several people who have been demonstrating with individual pickets in front of the Palace of the Republic for months have been arrested. They are demanding the release of their relatives held in Chinese "re-education camps" in Xinjiang. Among those arrested was 65-year-old Khalida Akytkhan, whose three children are imprisoned in Chinese lagers.

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