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Women on the frontline in Russia – Ukraine war

Elle – the global women’s lifestyle magazine – has featured Ukrainian women who are on the frontline fighting against the Russian invading forces since Russia started full-fledge invasion against Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

Among 42,000 women serving in the Ukrainian army, many famous models, actresses, and public figures joined forces in the army and are protecting their country from the Russian forces.  

US Tsunami warning centre issued tsunami alert in Taiwan.

The U.S. Tsunami Warning Center today issued a tsunami alert in Taiwan. It said hazardous tsunami waves were possible within 300 km of the epicentre along the coasts of Taiwan.  The alert was issued after the southeastern part of the island nation was hit by an earthquake of 6.8 magnitudes today. The US Geological Survey measured the earthquake at a depth of 10 km. Taiwan's weather bureau said the epicentre of the earthquake was in Taitung county which had seen a 6.4 magnitude quake yesterday and numerous aftershocks since then. Local media has reported that several buildings collapsed and trains derailed in Hualien County.  Taiwan’s fire department said all four people were rescued from a building housing a convenience store that collapsed in Yuli, while three people whose vehicle fell off a damaged bridge were rescued and taken to hospital. 

The Taiwan Railway Administration informed that about 20 passengers were evacuated after a train derailed in the area. No casualties have been reported so far.

International Day of Democracy 2022 observed.

The 2022 International Day of Democracy theme importance of media freedom to democracy, peace, and delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals is timely in reminding us that the press plays a crucial role in ensuring accountability of democratic institutions. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated regression of democracy across the globe and we witnessed governments compromising fundamental freedoms and suppressing information to its people. In this process, many media actors were targeted by the state for simply doing their mandate. As we heal from the pandemic and as restrictions are gradually lifted we must demand and act towards the restoration of a free press, free expression, and widening of civic space. 

The Asia Democracy Network (ADN), on the occasion of the International Day of Democracy 2022, calls on all governments to ensure respect for freedom of press. Journalists should not be seen as a threat, rather partners  carrying a mandate to ensure transparent information and delivery of truth to the public. We reiterate that the media and press is the fourth estate and plays a vital role in ensuring a functioning democracy. The press serves as the citizens’ watchdog on every aspect of democratic governance and free flow of information.

Taking this opportunity, ADN furthermore calls upon the governments in Asia to ensure freedom of expression and widening space for all people. We strongly encourage the active development of strategies to combat misinformation and disinformation which has become an existential threat to the sustainability of democracy and human rights. Misinformation and disinformation must be addressed and it must start with education and not the criminalization of it. Educating the public must be prioritized and this must include relevant stakeholders among them civil society organizations and members of the press.

Lastly, ADN express their highest gratitude and solidarity to members of the press, civil society organizations, and all pro-democrats for their sacrifice and endless effort in keeping the powerful accountable despite all the challenges and threats they are often faced with.

Whole world mourns Queen Elizabeth's death.

Queen Elizabeth, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and the nation's figurehead for seven decades, has died aged 96, Buckingham Palace said on Thursday. "The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon," Buckingham Palace said in a statement. "The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow." Her eldest son Charles, 73, automatically becomes king of the United Kingdom and the head of state of 14 other realms including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Her family had rushed to be by her side at her Scottish home, Balmoral Castle, after doctors expressed concern about her health. She had been suffering from what Buckingham Palace has called "episodic mobility problems" since the end of last year, forcing her to withdraw from nearly all her public engagements. Queen Elizabeth II, who was also the world's oldest and longest-serving head of state, came to the throne following the death of her father King George VI on Feb. 6, 1952, when she was just 25. She was crowned in June the following year.

With the news of her dead spread across the whole world, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi mourned her dead. He shared his condolence message and said that the meetings he had with Queen Elizabeth in the past, will keep linguering in his thoughts for the rest of his life. UNESCO and various other sections of the world mourned  her dead too.

65 killed due to earthquake at Sichuan province, China.

Landslides hampered traffic movement. Power connection and communication lines in villages near epicentre have been snapped. A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck China’s mountainous Sichuan province on Monday, killing at least 65 persons, reported the Associated Press. The earthquake struck about 40 kilometres from Luding county, The Global Times reported. The county is situated on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau where tectonic plates meet making it prone to earthquakes. Seven earthquakes of more than 2.8 magnitude hit Sichuan within one hour on Monday. The effects of the earthquake were felt in the provincial capital Chengdu, which is 200 kilometres from the epicentre.

The earthquake triggered landslides and damaged buildings leaving many trapped inside the rubble, reported The Global Times. More than 5,000 residents have been rescued so far and a search for the missing ones is underway. Videos from Sichuan province show stones and sand rolling down from the mountains. The traffic movement was hampered due to the rubble. Power connection and communication lines were snapped in villages near the epicentre.

The local meteorological department has said that Luding county will get rains which could interfere with rescue efforts, reported Al Jazeera. Sichuan is already facing a drought. The water levels at hydropower reservoirs have been halved in a month, according to the Sichuan Provincial Department of Economics and Information Technology, reported the Associated Press The reduced hydropower generation in Sichuan has led to curbs on industrial power consumption, reported Reuters.

A Myanmar junta court sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to three years in jail “with hard labour”.

A Myanmar junta court sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to three years in jail “with hard labour” on Friday, for electoral fraud in the 2020 polls that her party won in a landslide, a source said. The latest sentence, handed down by the closed court, takes the total jail time the Nobel laureate and democracy figurehead is facing to two decades. She was “sentenced to three years’ imprisonment with hard labour”, a source with knowledge of the case said, adding that Suu Kyi, 77, appeared to be in good health. Her lawyers would appeal the ruling, the source added. Detained since a coup last year, Suu Kyi had already been convicted of corruption and a clutch of other charges by a closed junta court and sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Journalists have been barred from proceedings in the military-built capital Naypyidaw and her lawyers have been prevented from speaking to the press. Ex-president Win Myint, who was on trial for the same charge, also received a jail sentence of three years, the source said. A junta spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. The military alleged widespread voter fraud during the November 2020 election, won resoundingly by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), although international observers said the poll was largely free and fair. The military has since cancelled the result and said it uncovered more than 11 million instances of voter fraud.

Last month, junta chief Min Aung Hlaing said the military was being “lenient” on Suu Kyi and could have taken “more serious actions” against her. Myanmar was plunged into crisis following the military’s power grab last year, with swathes of the country ravaged by fighting and the economy in free fall. More than 2,200 people have been killed and 15,000 arrested in the military’s crackdown on dissent since it seized power, according to a local monitoring group.

Five Myanmar Natioals held from Churachanpur

Myanmar nationals at Ngathal Village area, CCP PS team conducted a search.

During the search 5 illegal Myanmar nationals (4 Male +1 Female) staying illegally were found.

They could not produce any documents of identity and citizenship therefore were arrested after observing due formalities.

A suo motto case ref FIR No 131(08)2022 CCP PS u/s 14 Foreigners Act has been taken up for further investigation.

Thai court sentences a Thai man to 50 years imprisonment for raping and killing a Myanmar woman

The Thai Kabin Buri court in Prachin Buri province sentenced a Thai man on Tuesday who raped and killed Myint Myint Khaine to 50 years imprisonment.

Thai news reported that the culprit had attended the court hearing virtually.
The victim, who disappeared from her house in the early morning on 14 November 2021, was found four days later, on the evening of 18 November, outside the Kabin Buri town.
The Thai authority arrested Mr Boonlai Buaman hours after Myint Myint Khaine's body was found on 18 November 2021.
Myint Myint Khaine came from Moebye township in southern Shan state, but she was an ethnic Karenni and had worked with the offender at the fish factory.
The lawyer of the victim's family is preparing to fight for securing compensation of up to Baht 5,000 per month for 40 years.

Myanmar regime is set to execute another 41 prisoners

Photo:Insein Prison Execution room
Two days after the execution of four political prisoners on Sunday, news has broken again in Yangon city that the junta regime is set to execute another 41 political prisoners.
A source, as it is claimed, cites prisoners themselves from Insein prison and provides critical information on the Insein prison’s authority in preparing to execute the 41 political prisoners.
The 41 prisoners are wearing yellow uniforms and are placed alongside other prisoners in a cell that houses 100 people.
Today, the 41 prisoners with yellow uniforms have been moved to a different cell in preparation for the execution.
Asked a political activist who is now in hiding and does not want to disclose his name, he says the matter is likely possible due to the junta regime’s losing diplomatic battles at the International Court of Justice.

Chindwin attempted to reach several contacts but was not successful. For this, Chindwin cannot independently verify the report.  

Source: Chindwin News Agency

Myanmar executes four democracy activists, drawing condemnation and outrage

Myanmar’s military junta on Monday (25 July) said it had executed four democracy activists accused of helping to carry out “terror acts” in the Southeast Asian nation’s first executions in decades, sparking widespread condemnation.

 Kyaw Min Yu [L], Phyo Zeya Thaw [R] 
Sentenced to death in closed-door trials in January and April, the four men had been accused of helping militias to fight the army that seized power in a coup last year and unleashed a bloody crackdown on its opponents.

Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG), a shadow administration outlawed by the ruling military junta, condemned the executions and called for international action against Myanmar’s junta.

“Extremely saddened … condemn the junta’s cruelty,” the NUG president’s office spokesman Kyaw Zaw told Reuters via message. “The global community must punish their cruelty.”

Among those executed were democracy figure Kyaw Min Yu, better known as Jimmy, and former lawmaker and hip-hop artist Phyo Zeya Thaw, the Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper said.

Kyaw Min Yu, 53, and Phyo Zeya Thaw, a 41-year-old ally of ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, lost their appeals against the sentences in June. The two others executed were Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw.

“I am outraged and devastated at the news of the junta’s execution of Myanmar patriots and champions of human rights and democracy,” Tom Andrews, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, said in a statement.

“My heart goes out to their families, friends and loved ones and indeed all the people in Myanmar who are victims of the junta’s escalating atrocities … These depraved acts must be a turning point for the international community.”

Thazin Nyunt Aung, the wife of Phyo Zeyar Thaw, said she had not been told of her husband’s execution. Other relatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

The men had been held in the colonial-era Insein prison and a person with knowledge of the events said their families visited the prison last Friday. Only one relative was allowed to speak to the detainees via the Zoom online platform, said the person.

Myanmar’s state media on Monday reported the executions had taken place and junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun later confirmed the executions to Voice of Myanmar. Neither gave any details about when the executions occurred.

Previous executions in Myanmar have been by hanging.

An activist group, the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners (AAPP), said Myanmar’s last judicial executions were in the late 1980s.

International condemnation

Last month, junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun defended the death penalty, saying it was justified and used in many countries.

“At least 50 innocent civilians, excluding security forces, died because of them,” he told a televised news conference.

“How can you say this is not justice?” he asked. “Required actions are needed to be done in the required moments.”

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), appealed in a letter in June to junta leader Min Aung Hlaing not to carry out the executions, relaying deep concern among Myanmar’s neighbours.

Myanmar’s ruling junta has condemned foreign statements about the execution orders as “reckless and interfering”.

Myanmar has been in chaos since last year’s coup, with conflict spreading nationwide after the army crushed mostly peaceful protests in cities.

“These horrendous executions were murders. They’re a part of the junta’s ongoing crimes against humanity and attack on the civilian population,” Matthew Smith, head of Southeast Asia’s Fortify Rights, told Reuters.

“The junta would be completely wrong to think this would instil fear in the hearts of the revolution.”

The AAPP says more than 2,100 people have been killed by the security forces since the coup. The junta says that figure is exaggerated.

The true picture of violence has been hard to assess as clashes have spread to more remote areas where ethnic minority insurgent groups are also fighting the military.

Last Friday, the World Court rejected Myanmar’s objections to a genocide case over its treatment of the Muslim Rohingya minority, paving the way for the case to be heard in full.

The latest executions close off any chance of ending the unrest in the country, said Myanmar analyst Richard Horsey, of the International CRISIS group.

“Any possibility of dialogue to end the crisis created by the coup has now been removed,” Horsey told Reuters.

“This is the regime demonstrating that it will do what it wants and listen to no one. It sees this as a demonstration of strength, but it may be a serious miscalculation.”

Acting Asia director of Human Rights Watch, Elaine Pearson, said the executions aimed to chill the anti-coup protest movement.

“European Union member states, the United States, and other governments should show the junta that there will be a reckoning for its crimes,” said Pearson.

“They should demand immediate measures, including the release of all political prisoners, and let the junta know the atrocities it commits have consequences.”

Two Tamil shot death at Tamu

Two Tamil youths from were reportedly shot dead in Tamu, Myanmar today. The two deceased Tamil youths were identified as P. Mohan S/O Late Perumal, 28 years from Gamnom veng, Moreh Ward No.2 and M. Iyarnar s/o Murga, 35 years of Phaicham veng, Moreh Ward No.4.

Sources inform Admin Eastern Mirror (CNS) that they were shot dead by Pyu Shaw Htee at near BEHS, Tamu Saw BAWR ward, Myanmar around 1pm of  Tuesday, July 5.Source further said that the two Tamil youths are innocent civilians who went to Tamu to visit their friends. 

Pyu Shaw Htee is a militia formed by Myanmar military.

The Indian Journalists Union condemn

The Indian Journalists Union condemns in the strongest of terms the arrest of Muhammad Zubair, co-founder of fact checking website AltNews. His arrest by the Delhi police smacks of malafide as it comes for his post in 2018, claimed by a Twitter handle to be ‘hurting religious sentiments.’ The Union called for his immediate release as the action is clearly intended not only to intimidate and harass Zubair but also hit out at AltNews, which is doing yeoman service in checking fake news and disinformation. According to reports, Zubair was called in for questioning on Monday in a 2020 case, for which he had protection against arrest from Delhi High Court, but a cyber unit of Delhi Police filed an FIR against Zubair under IPC sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 295-A (malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings).

Sri lanka needs 5 billion dollars to pay for essential goods: wickremesinghe

Sri Lankan prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today said that the country needs at least 5 billion dollar over the next six months to pay for essential goods. Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe told Srilankan Parliament, the money is needed for basic items such as food, fuel and fertiliser. Mr Wickremesinghe, who is also the country's finance minister, told parliament that more money was required this year to meet Sri Lanka's basic needs. The Prime Minister added that, the United Nations also plans to make a worldwide appeal for Sri Lanka, and has pledged 48 million dollar for food, agriculture and healthcare.

At least 50 killed as gunmen attack catholic church in nigeria

At least 50 people including women and children were killed and others injured after gunmen attacked a Catholic church in Nigeria's Ondo state during mass yesterday, according to media reports. The attack took place in Owo, a town in Ondo state, as many worshippers gathered at the church during the morning mass on Sunday. According to local news agency, the gunmen first detonated explosives near the church altar before firing at the worshipers and killing scores of them on the spot. The official said it is difficult to put a number to the casualties, as security operatives rushed to the scene to rescue worshippers. The injured victims were rushed to a government-run hospital in Owo town. There has been no claim of responsibility and the motive for the massacre was still unclear.

Russian forces currently occupy roughly one-fifth of ukraine: zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Russian forces currently occupy roughly one-fifth of Ukraine. Mr Zelensky in an address to lawmakers in Luxembourg yesterday said that as of today, about 20 percent of our territory is under the control of Russia. He added that Russian forces control some 48,000 square miles of Ukrainian territory. According to media reports, Russian forces have been intensifying attacks on the city of Severodonetsk in the eastern Donbas region. BBC reports that Britain's Defence Ministry also said that Russia has taken control of most of the city. The Ministry said, Ukrainian forces control the main road into Sievierodonetsk, with Russia making steady local gains, enabled by a heavy concentration of artillery. However, according to media reports, the Ukrainian forces began a retreat on Wednesday from Severodonetsk, the last Ukrainian holdout in the Luhansk oblast, one of two states that make up the Donbas region.

India-Myanmar trade likely to resume soon

Indo-Myanmar Gate No. 1 and 2 are likely to be reopened soon to resume trade between the two neighbouring countries. The gates have remained closed since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the two countries. Informed sources said Tengnoupal district deputy commissioner Mannuamching has written to Myanmar's Tamu district administrator to take necessary steps to reopen the gates and resume trade. However, the Mynamar side is yet to give a reply to the proposal. Earlier, a meeting was held at ICP Moreh conference hall to discuss the matter concerning reopening of the Indo-Myanmar gates. It was attended by deputy commissioner Mannuamching, ICP manager T Baite, Land Customs Station SP SK Gangte, senior immigration officer  Krisna Anand and 43 Assam Rifles Commanding Officer  Sumit Sood. 

Official team from India visits Kabul to oversee humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan

External Affairs Ministry today said that the visit of an official team from India to Kabul is about humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. Briefing media in New Delhi this evening, External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Arindam Bagchi said, India has been providing humanitarian assistance in various forms. He said, the ongoing visit is to oversee the delivery of this assistance and have discussions with the relevant people for that. He added that India has historical and civilisational ties with the Afghan people and these longstanding ties will continue to guide India's approach to Afghanistan.

Nepal plane crash kills 22, including 4 Indians: Last body, black box retrieved

Two days after a plane crashed in Nepal with 22 aboard, including four Indians, the black box was retrieved on Tuesday morning, Nepal Army was quoted as saying in reports, adding that the last body was recovered too. The Tara Air plane crashed on Sunday, minutes after taking off from the tourist city of Pokhara for Jomsom.  “Ten bodies have already been brought to the base station in Khabang-Mustang. Two bodies are being brought down to the base station, the black box has also been recovered from the site," the Nepal Army spokesperson told news agency ANI. With the recovery of black box, details may soon emerge on how the mishap unfolded.  "All bodies have now been found," Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Deo Chandra Lal Karn told news agency AFP. 

Asia Cup Men's Hockey: India to take on South Korea in final round-robin league match

In Asia Cup Men's Hockey tournament, defending champions India will take on South Korea in their final Super four round-robin league match at the GBK Sports Complex Hockey Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia today. India will be looking for an outright win against South Korea to book their place in the final of tournament. The Men in Blue had almost clinched a spot in the title clash but Razie Rahim turned out to be Malaysia's saviour with a hat-trick in an enthralling 3-3 draw in their second 'Super 4' encounter on Sunday. Japan will play Malaysia in the other Super 4 match of the day. 

Nepal aircraft carrying 22 passengers including 4 indians goes missing


A small passenger plane operated by a private airline in Nepal with 22 people including 4 Indians on board went missing today. Airline officials said, the Tara Air 9 NAET twin-engine aircraft lost contact while flying from the tourist town of Pokhara to Jomsom. The aircraft, which was on a 15-minute scheduled flight, lost contact shortly after take-off at 9:55 am local time. The aircraft was hosting 4 Indian and 3 Japanese nationals. The remaining were Nepali citizens and the aircraft had 22 passengers including the crew, according to the State Television. As per the police officials, the aircraft has been suspected to have crashed in the "Titi" area of Lete in the mountainous Mustang district, which is the fifth-largest district of the Himalayan nation and hosts the pilgrimage of Muktinath Temple. The Nepal government has deployed two private helicopters from Mustang and Pokhara for the search for missing aircraft. Shortly after a plane went missing in Nepal today, the Embassy of India in Kathmandu  said the search and rescue operations were on. The embassy is in touch with the family of the missing Indians. It has issued an emergency hotline number in connection with the Nepali aircraft that went missing today. The hotline number is 977-9851107021.