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Niger. More than dozen killed in southwest Niger village attack (Al Jazeera)

At least 16 people have been killed in an attack on a village in southwestern Niger where attackers have repeatedly massacred civilians this year, a local official and a security source said.

The unidentified gunmen opened fire during Friday prayers in the village of Theim in the Tillaberi region and killed 16 people, Mayor Halido Zibo told Reuters news agency on Saturday.

More than dozen killed in southwest Niger village attack | Armed Groups News | Al Jazeera

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Afghanistan/USA. Ex-UK PM Blair slams American ‘abandonment’ of Afghanistan (Al Jazeera)

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who in 2001 took Britain into war in Afghanistan alongside the United States, condemned the “abandonment” of the country as “dangerous” and “unnecessary”.

In his first public comments on the crisis since the Afghan government collapsed last weekend, Blair criticised the US motives for the withdrawal as “imbecilic” and “driven not by grand strategy but by politics”.

Ex-UK PM Blair slams American ‘abandonment’ of Afghanistan | Taliban News | Al Jazeera

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Japan. Japan’s optional four-day week divides workers (East Asia Forum)

Naohiro Yashiro, Showa Women’s University

In June 2021, Japan’s Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy promoted plans for an optional four-day workweek in its annual economic policy guideline. While the policy creates substantial employment benefits for Japan’s aging workforce, the announcement has divided Japanese workers.

Japan’s optional four-day week divides workers (eastasiaforum.org)

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Japan. Japan’s narrowing options on monetary easing (East Asia Forum)

Toshitaka Sekine, Hitotsubashi University

More than eight years have passed since the Bank of Japan (BOJ) began its aggressive Quantitative and Qualitative Monetary Easing (QQE) program in April 2013. Despite subsequent efforts made by the Bank, such as the adoption of negative interest rates in January 2016 and yield curve control in September 2016, it has yet to achieve its 2 per cent inflation target — the most recent figures put consumer price index inflation small negative.

Japan’s narrowing options on monetary easing (eastasiaforum.org)

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Southeast Asia. Bridging geopolitics and infrastructure in Southeast Asia (East Asia Forum)

Kevin Chen, ACI

For developing countries in Southeast Asia, growing global interest in their infrastructure needs has been cause for both excitement and concern. In 2021, the G7 announced its support for the US-led ‘Build Back Better World’ (B3W) initiative, while the European Union unveiled its own ‘Globally Connected Europe’ infrastructure strategy.

Bridging geopolitics and infrastructure in Southeast Asia | East Asia Forum

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China. Terrorists and their supporters are enemies of China (Global Times)

On Friday, a suicide bombing took place at the East Bay Road in the port of Gwadar in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan. The blast injured one Chinese national, and unfortunately two Pakistani children were killed in the explosion. Many were wounded.

Terrorists and their supporters are enemies of China: Global Times editorial – Global Times

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China. China achieves important breakthrough in halving rice growth cycle (Global Times)

China has achieved an important breakthrough in harvesting rice in controlled conditions only 60 days in a plant factory, halving the traditional growth cycle of more than 120 days in field condition, which provides a new approach to accelerate crop breeding, according to media reports.

China achieves important breakthrough in halving rice growth cycle – Global Times

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PLA Rocket Force holds live-fire drills, testing new-type conventional missiles (Global Times)

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force recently conducted live-fire drills in the deserts in Northwest China in which it launched two new-type conventional short-range missiles that accurately hit “hostile” defense nodes despite them being well protected.

PLA Rocket Force holds live-fire drills, testing new-type conventional missiles – Global Times

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China/Tibet. World’s highest expressway opens to traffic (Global Times)

The world’s highest expressway, running between the city of Nagqu and Lhasa, capital of southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, went into operation on Saturday, with the opening of the final 227-km section between Nagqu and Yangbajain, according to the Ministry of Transport.

World’s highest expressway opens to traffic – Global Times

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