ASIA TODAY Malaysian Islamist leader charged with sedition and insulting the monarchy

Today’s news: Hun Sen blocks Radio Free Asia and other news sites on the eve of the elections. Tens of thousands of people evacuated in southern China and Vietnam by Typhoon Talim. Those displaced by the rising Yamuna River in New Delhi are returning to their homes. While the Ukrainian counteroffensive attacks are concentrated in the Crimea, Moscow threatens an attack by Wagner mercenaries in the Suwalki corridor.


A court in the State of Selangor accused of sedition – that is, of constituting a danger to public order and the country’s monarchies – to opposition leader Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor, a popular politician from the Islamist PAS party and the Premier of Kedah State. Sanusi pleaded “not guilty” to two charges – both of sedition – for comments he made during a political speech in early July to Malaysian monarchies. Monarchs play a ceremonial role and guardian of Islam in a Muslim-majority country, but – as in Thailand – there is a strict lèse majesté law that prohibits any form of offense against them.


The government of Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered Internet service providers in Cambodia to block the websites of Radio Free Asia and other media before the parliamentary elections on Sunday the 23rd. The media have been accused of “damaging the reputation and prestige of the government and not complying with the Ministry of Information’s conditions for doing business.” Blocked sites include RFA’s Khmer and English-language platforms and the Khmer-language Twitter page. He also ordered the Kamnotra website, produced by the Cambodian Center for Independent Media, CCIM, to be blocked.


Talim is the fourth typhoon to hit the southern coast of China and Vietnam this year with winds of nearly 140 km/h. Vietnam has evacuated about 30,000 people from the Quang Ninh and Hai Phong centers, while tens of thousands were taken to safety in Guangdong, of whom more than 8,000 are fish farm workers driven to the mainland. Local authorities also ordered the closure of dozens of coastal tourist destinations. Talim is causing waves of up to twenty feet, with storm surges that have forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights and trains. The typhoon is expected to lose strength over China today and finally dissipate over northern Vietnam on Wednesday.


Residents near the Yamuna River, which runs through the Indian capital, began to return to their homes on Monday night when the waters began to recede five days after the start of the flood. Last week the river reached its highest level in 45 years. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated to relief camps set up by the New Delhi government. These families will receive compensation of 10,000 rupees (130 euros) and the schools will provide books and uniforms to children who have lost them due to the floods.


The attacks of the Ukrainian counteroffensive are concentrating on the Crimea and the Kerch bridge, the main access even for tourists, who had already decreased a lot and are now “invited” by the Russian authorities to reach the peninsula by “land routes”, choosing between endless queues on the bridges or long journeys through mountains and valleys through the occupied territories.


The chairman of the Moscow Duma Defense Commission, Andrei Kartapolov, stated that mercenaries from Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner company were massing in Belarus to conquer the Suwalki corridor, a strip of border territory between Poland and Lithuania of about 70 kilometers long. In this way, Putin would establish direct communication with the Russian enclave in the Polish region of Kaliningrad and separate the Baltic states from their NATO partners.


One year after the country was at risk of default, when its foreign exchange reserves were depleted, the Sri Lankan economic crisis seems to be showing signs of improvement. However, a government report on the last 12 months indicates that, for example, electricity has increased by 65% ​​since the state subsidy was removed and “many middle-class families have fallen below the poverty line.” According to the World Bank, this situation is likely to continue for some time: “Poverty is expected to remain above 25% in the coming years,” the report says. Meanwhile, the financial institution provided a $700 million loan to Sri Lanka to support the budget, $200 million of which is earmarked for aid to the poor and vulnerable.


The President of the Republic of Iraq, Abdul Latif Rashid, who withdrew the “institutional recognition” of the position of Patriarch Luis Sako, met yesterday with the charge d’affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature, Fr. Charles Lwanga Ssuuna. Fr. Ssuuna stressed that administration of church property – as provided for in the Iraqi Constitution – must continue to be exercised freely by the leaders of the Churches even at a practical level, that is, before the Courts and offices of the Iraqi government, and that the Apostolic Nunciature does not intend to rule on whether this should or not be guaranteed by presidential decrees.


Japan and the United Arab Emirates have signed a technology cooperation agreement to tackle climate change together. The agreement was signed during the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to the United Arab Emirates. This is the second stop in the region of the prime minister’s international tour, focused on the security of energy supply and the promotion of green technology.

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