A superhit song from a Mithun Chakraborty movie released in 1982 is being widely viewed and shared on short video platforms in China as a song of protest against the government's strict Covid-19 restrictions. The chorus of the original song – which has music by Bappi Lahiri and is sung by Parvati Khan - when transliterated into Mandarin sound something like “give me rice” [Jie mi].
Algerian journalist Ihsane El Kadi has been sentenced to three years in prison for "foreign financing of his business," according to an Algerian court. El Kadi, director of the Maghreb Emergent news website and Radio M, was given a five-year sentence, three of which must be served in detention. He is one of the last independent media bosses in Algeria.
Two Chinese universities are granting students a week-long holiday to 'feel the beauty of spring and love,' prompting speculation on social media that the move is an attempt to reverse the country's declining birth rate. The government has offered incentives to encourage young couples to have more children, including recently introducing 30 days of paid leave for marriage. Some social media users speculated that the extended holiday was another effort to encourage births, while others criticised it as a cheap attempt to attract students to vocational education.
India has raised concerns with the Canadian government about a series of vandalism incidents targeting statues of Mahatma Gandhi. The High Commission in Ottawa has contacted the country?s foreign ministry, Global Affairs Canada. The most recent incident involved the decapitation of a statue on the campus of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. A further incident saw a statue of the Mahatma in Hamilton, Ontario, defaced with anti-India and pro-Khalistan graffiti spray-painted nearby. The Canadian police have set up a dedicated information line for the public to assist with their investigations.
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has claimed he was forced by ex-Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa to develop good ties with India, according to the country's Dunya News. Khan said Bajwa was "not a man of principles". He also warned there would be no constitution left in the country if elections were not held within 90 days, leading him to take direct action. Earlier this year, Pakistan denied having any backchannel talks with India, but Reuters reported there may be a potential breakthrough in the bilateral relationship.
Four of the eight people who died in a human smuggling tragedy along the Canada-US border on 2 February were Indian nationals, according to local police. The victims were attempting to cross the St Lawrence river when their vessel overturned. The region, which straddles Quebec, Ontario and New York State, is a known transit point for human and contraband smuggling. The identities of the Indian victims have not been confirmed, but are believed to be from Gujarat. In April 2016, six Indian nationals were rescued from the freezing St Regis River in the same region, and were charged with Improper Entry by Alien.
Pakistan is facing a severe economic crisis caused by corrupt and ineffective governance, military coups, mounting international debt, lack of major exports and a large class divide, according to Asian Lite. Prices are increasing, and the government has failed to provide basic amenities like power and gas, leading to widespread misery among citizens. The country has reportedly doubled its debt roughly every five years over the past 25 years. Rising unemployment, an acute scarcity of imported raw materials and foreign exchange shortages are also impacting the economy.
Two people have died and a child has been injured after a hot air balloon caught fire near Mexico City. The cause of the accident, which occurred near the Teotihuacan pre-Hispanic ruin site, is under investigation.
New York?s Metropolitan Museum of Art will return 15 Indian sculptures after it learnt that the items were trafficked. All the works were sold by Subhash Kapoor, a convicted Indian-American antiquities smuggler. The artifacts range in date from the 1st century BCE to the 11th century CE, according to the Indian Express. Kapoor was sentenced to 10 years jail time in November 2022 by a Tamil Nadu court. The Met said it will adhere to responsible purchase of antiquities and has set in place strict standards for new acquisitions and its existing collection.
Nepal's newly elected President, Ramchandra Paudel, has been admitted to hospital in Kathmandu after complaining of stomach pain. The President was sworn in two weeks ago, after securing 33,802 electoral votes, with his rival Subash Chandra Nembwang securing 15,518 electoral votes. The voting took place at Nepal's Parliament building in New Baneshwar, Kathmandu, with 884 members making up the Electoral College.
A stampede at a factory in Pakistan during a charity food distribution has killed at least 11 people, including women and children. The factory is located in the SITE area of Karachi, where many of the country’s factories are found. The incident occurred as people gathered to collect flour, with reports suggesting the numbers had been exacerbated by rising food prices. A fire caused by petrol leak was also reported. The local government has offered compensation to the families of the dead.
Climate activists in Italy turned a Baroque-style fountain at the foot of Rome's Spanish Steps black on Saturday, in a protest they said evoked an "end of the world" scenario. Three activists from the anti-climate change organisation Last Generation poured a vegetable-based carbon liquid into the landmark 17th-century fountain, known to Romans as La Barcaccia, before being escorted away by police. The protests in Italy are part of a series of actions across Europe to focus attention on climate change.
Donald Trump’s legal team is considering asking to move his criminal case from Manhattan to the more conservative New York borough of Staten Island out of concern that he won’t be able to get a fair trial, according to a person familiar with the matter. The indictment will be unsealed Tuesday when Trump is expected to appear in court to be arraigned and enter a plea of not guilty to charges stemming from a hush-money payment to a porn star before the 2016 election. Trump denies wrongdoing and says the case is part of a politically motivated “witch hunt.”
A Palestinian motorist rammed his car into a group of soldiers in the West Bank, wounding three, before being shot dead. The 23-year-old was identified as a member of the Palestinian security forces. In Jerusalem, a man detained by Israeli police near a flashpoint holy site grabbed an officer's gun and fired it, prompting the unit to shoot him dead. The Justice Ministry department for investigating police conduct is looking into the incident, a spokesperson said. Israeli-Palestinian tensions are simmering after months of violence in areas of Jerusalem and the West Bank.
US Vice President Kamala Harris has highlighted the importance of securing food supplies in an age of global warming during her weeklong tour of Africa, which included visits to Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia. Harris is pushing for $7bn in private-sector investments to help Africa prepare for the effects of climate change, particularly in relation to hunger, which can also create instability, leading to migration and conflict. Her visit comes as President Biden has requested $11bn in his proposed budget to meet US international commitments.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) has been accused of being pro-Russian and collaborating with Moscow, resulting in a crackdown by Kyiv. The UOC denies the accusations, and a senior cleric from the church, Metropolitan Pavlo, has been sentenced to house arrest for allegedly glorifying invading Russian forces and stoking religious divisions. The church said that the court also ordered Pavlo to wear an electronic bracelet. The UOC has refused to leave a 980-year old monastery complex the government says it must vacate.