03/08/2023, 09.39
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Women's rights march also cancelled in Hong Kong

Today's headlines: the Burmese junta implodes schools, 300,000 teachers missing; Six Palestinian victims in an Israeli raid in Jenin, rockets fired from the Strip today; Millions of Indians celebrate Holi, festival of colours; Young Thai man sentenced to two years in prison for lese majesty; earthquake damage exceeds 100 billion in Turkey alone.

The Hong Kong Women's Workers Association cancelled today's planned march to celebrate International Women's Day following threats of arrest by the police. Security officials summoned Chan Po-ying, leader of the League of Social Democrats, and three other activists, saying they would end up in jail if they joined the demonstration. 

Education in Myanmar is on the verge of collapse, affected by Covid-19 and the 2021 military coup that triggered a civil war. The number of high school students taking their final exams has plummeted by 80%. Approximately 300,000 teachers have left public schools, which are now understaffed, and the junta has kicked out 11,000 university lecturers and 125,000 professors. 

At least 18 people were killed and more than 100 injured when an office and business building exploded yesterday in the capital, Dhaka. The deflagration - the causes of which are still unknown - involved the lower floors of the structure, located in the Siddik Bazar business district. Several floors and walls were destroyed, rubble and shrapnel fell onto the surrounding streets. 

Israeli security forces yesterday raided a refugee camp in Jenin, West Bank, killing six Palestinians, including a Hamas member suspected of killing two brothers from a Jewish settlement near Huwara. This morning, a missile was reportedly fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, setting off the warning system. 

Millions of Indians celebrate Holi - the festival of colours, based on a Hindu legend - at home and around the world. The occasion marks the beginning of spring and the victory of good over evil. People celebrate by smearing bright colours on friends and family, offering prayers and burning a bonfire to symbolically destroy evil. For many, it is a symbol of a new beginning. 

The damage caused by the devastating earthquake on 6 February exceeds 100 billion Euro in Turkey alone, a substantial increase over the 34.2 billion Euro previously estimated by the World Bank. Meanwhile, the death toll in the country and in neighbouring Syria, which was also badly hit, has exceeded 52,000; many were caught in their sleep by the main tremor. 

A Thai court sentenced 26-year-old Narathorn Chotmankongsin to two years in jail for selling satirical calendars depicting a yellow rubber duck, which magistrates said defamed the royal family. Thailand applies one of the harshest and most restrictive rules for the offence of lese majesty. The object became a symbol of pro-democracy protests in 2020. 

As Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Evgenij Ivanov has announced, Moscow is preparing agreements to mutually simplify the entry visa regime with six countries: India, Angola, Vietnam, Indonesia, Syria and the Philippines. Also under consideration is the complete cancellation of visas with many other countries, up to 70 according to Minister Lavrov himself.

According to a recent survey conducted in various cities under the auspices of Unicef, about 6% of pupils in Kazakhstan suffer from obesity, and many more are simply overweight. The causes identified are mainly related to the poor quality of the food, which is most often reduced to very cheap 'sandwiches and fizzy drinks'.

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One arrest and 23 detained in Hong Kong for trying to recall Tiananmen
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