ASIA TODAY Dhaka inaugurates its first metropolitan subway

Other news of the day: officials and businessmen hoarding antivirals in China to deal with an unprecedented wave of Covid-19; two days after Christmas, a church in Karnataka is vandalized; Kishida slides the possibility of calling early elections in Japan; the Israeli ambassador returns to Ankara; Russian opposition politician Lev Yasin is transferred to a place of detention far from Moscow without waiting for the appeals process.


In Dhaka, Prime Minister Sheik Hasina will today open the first section of the metropolitan subway. The financing of the work was achieved thanks to Japanese cooperation. The metro can be used by the more than 20 million inhabitants of the city and will extend over 12 kilometers, linking Diabara and Agargaon. The line connects the northern part of Dhaka with the center, where government offices and hospitals are located.


In China there is a real race to stock up on antivirals and to be able to face an unprecedented wave of Covid-19 cases. Speaking to Financial TimesSeveral public and private hospitals commented that Paxlovid – an antiviral used to treat moderate symptoms of the coronavirus – is out of stock or only available for patients with serious illnesses. The doctors denounced that officials and businessmen hoarded large stocks of tablets at exorbitant prices to protect their elderly parents, relatives or friends.


Two days after Christmas, vandalized a church in the Indian state of Karnataka. Unidentified individuals broke into St. Mary’s Church, damaged an image of Baby Jesus and ransacked the altar. Karnataka is one of the Indian states with the highest number of attacks against Christian communities in 2022.


Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hinted that could call elections before raising taxes to finance the increase in the Defense budget. The Prime Minister has the final say regarding the dissolution of the Japanese House of Representatives. The current four-year term expires in October 2025. A fourth member of the Kishida government, Reconstruction Minister Kenya Akiba, resigned a few days ago.


Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan received on Tuesday the credentials of the new Israeli ambassador to Turkey, a fact that marks the normalization of ties between the two countries after years of tensions. This year, relations between Turkey and Israel began to improve with high-level visits, such as that of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Ankara.


Opposition politician Lev Yasin, sentenced to eight and a half years in prison for spreading fejk (fake news) against the army, was transferred from a prison in Moscow to a prison camp in another region. The transfer occurred without waiting for the appeal process and without informing the destination, making Yasin the most severely persecuted Russian prisoner of conscience in the last thirty years.


President Mirziyoyev signed the decrees to reduce Uzbekistan’s government ministries and agencies from 61 to 28. At least 20 government offices were abolished as part of an institutional optimization plan. The 30% reduction seeks to establish “a fair labor compensation system” at all levels of the executive branch.

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