10/07/2022, 09.26
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World Bank cuts India's (and South Asia's) growth

Today's headlines: Joint military exercise by Tokyo and Seoul (with the US) in response to North Korean launches; Vientiane suspends mining operations at a Chinese-owned gold mine; cholera continues to strike in Syria, first case of contagion in neighbouring Lebanon; Moscow's Orthodox churches propse a liturgy for soldiers engaged in the war on Ukraine. 


The World Bank cut India's growth forecast for the 2022-23 fiscal year by one point (from 7.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent) and predicted a 9.5 per cent contraction in Sri Lanka, due to rising commodity prices and debt problems. Estimates for the region - India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives - revised to 5.8% from 6.8% in June. 


Japan, South Korea and the US conducted a joint exercise in the Sea of Japan yesterday, aimed at detecting, tracking and intercepting ballistic missiles. Manoeuvres that appear to be a response to the recent escalation by Pyongyang, which has carried out six launches in 12 days, During the manoeuvres, a new North Korean launch was simulated. 


Vientiane has ordered the suspension of mining activities at a Chinese-owned gold mine (the Lao Zin Long) in the north-western province of Oudomaxy. The measure is based on a series of accidents that resulted in the death and injury of several workers. The company management has never disclosed the number of victims.


The judiciary granted permission to prosecute former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his brother - former president and premier - Mahinda Rajapaksa, the former Finance Minister and two former Central Bank governors. The court finds Transparency International's complaint, which holds the defendants responsible for the worst economic crisis in decades, admissible. 


After Syria, where an epidemic is underway, Lebanon is also recording a case of cholera for the first time since 1993. Sources in the Beirut Ministry of Health say that the contagion occurred in the poor, agricultural northern region of Akkar. The patient is of Syrian origin and in stable condition. Meanwhile in Damascus, the toll is at least 39 dead and over 10,000 sick. 


A new daily liturgical service, the Moleben for mobilised soldiers, has been introduced in Moscow's Orthodox churches, and priests are sent to visit barracks regularly to support the reservists' patriotic spirit, also looking after their families. Special prayer booklets have been prepared for those sent to war.


Azerbaijan has returned to Armenia 17 prisoners captured in the 13-14 September clashes, according to Armenian Red Cross representative Zara Amatuni. Meanwhile, EU Foreign Commissioner Joseph Borrel denounced Azerbaijan in the Strasbourg Parliament for its occupation of Armenian territories.

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