MALAYSIA TO SEEK CHINESE ‘VIEWS’ ON NEW AUKUS SECURITY PACT
Malaysia announced that it plans to seek China’s views on AUKUS, the new defence partnership between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, amid divided regional opinion about the new pact. The new tripartite partnership, a response to China’s growing power and assertiveness in Asia, particularly in the strategically important South China Sea, has upended the region’s strategic landscape. Speaking in parliament, Malaysia’s Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein suggested an immediate working trip to China to discuss AUKUS. Further, the new Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob expressed his worries about the agreement, saying that the AUKUS pact could “provoke other powers to take more aggressive action in this region, especially in the South China Sea.” He added that it could be a “catalyst for a nuclear arms race in the Indo-Pacific region.”
FACEBOOK ORDERED TO HAND OVER ANTI-ROHINGYA CONTENT
A U.S. federal judge has ordered Facebook to hand over records related to accounts it shut down in 2018 due to their connections to fierce government assaults against the Muslim Rohingya minority in Myanmar. The judge’s ruling criticised the U.S. company for refusing to provide the records to countries pursuing a genocide case against Myanmar in an international court, saying that it “would compound the tragedy that has befallen the Rohingya.” Facebook had refused to release the data on the grounds of privacy, claiming that it would violate a U.S. law that bars electronic communication services from disclosing users’ communications. The judge did not agree with this argument and ordered Facebook to release the records of the accounts to the government of Gambia, which was seeking it to prosecute Myanmar’s government at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague.
KAZAKHSTAN AND EBRD PRIORITISE IN COOPERATION
Kazakhstan and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) prioritised the green economy, digitalisation, infrastructure, and connectivity development, as announced by EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso during a press conference in his first visit to Kazakhstan. These steps ae in a bid to reach zero-emission in 2060. Its relevance is linked to the ground reality that Kazakhstan is a country with a strong reliance on coal. The priority includes is to develop regional connectivity in Kazakhstan and Central Asia by supporting major road projects. A loan of up to $240 million to the KazAvtoZhol state-owned road company will finance the reconstruction of a 204-kilometer road section between the Kyzylorda and Zhezkazgan cities and the construction of a 14.8-kilometer bypass road around Kyzylorda. The road will improve passenger and cargo transport along strategic route E123, which links western China with the Ural region of Russia.
KAZAKH SCIENTISTS IN INTERNATIONAL TEAM ON DISEASE PREVENTION
Scientists of the Korkyt Ata Kyzylorda University joined an international team to conduct joint research on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases prevention. They are working with scientists from Portugal, the Netherlands, Denmark, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. The joint project titled “Innovative water-soluble phytomaterial inhibitors for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases prevention” received a grant from the European Union (EU) as part of the Horizon 2020 program, which is the biggest EU research and innovation initiative. Nurbol Appazov, a research professor of the Korkyt Ata Kyzylorda University, said that the scientists will conduct research on camel thorn, which grows in the southern regions of Kazakhstan, and is used for the medication production. The Kazakh researchers have extracted biologically active substances from the plant that are effective in treating the initial forms of atherosclerosis.
PROTECTION OF BORROWERS’ RIGHTS IN KAZAKHSTAN
Director of the Department of Protection of Consumer Rights of Financial Services of the Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan for Regulation and Development of the Financial Market Alexander Terentyev announced the signing of a memorandum by banks on the protection of borrowers’ rights. A Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation was signed between the Agency for the Regulation and Development of the Financial Market, the Akimat of Almaty, the Banking Ombudsman, banks and public associations, which provides for the suspension of the sale of the only dwelling and the eviction from the home of citizens on mortgage loans of borrowers belonging to socially vulnerable groups of the population. Its purpose is to protect the rights of borrowers (co-borrowers, guarantors, pledgers) related to socially vulnerable groups of the population by taking measures by the parties to resolve problem debts, including those refinanced under the terms of the program.
ALGERIA CLOSES AIRSPACE TO ALL MOROCCAN PLANES
Algeria has closed its airspace to all Moroccan planes due to “provocations and hostile practices” by its neighbour, in the latest dispute between the countries at odds mainly over Western Sahara. The move comes after Algeria broke off diplomatic ties with Morocco accusing it of “hostile actions” following months of heightened tensions between the two North African countries. Morocco called the severing of ties “completely unjustified” and said the decision was based on “false, even absurd pretexts.” Relations between the neighbours have been tense for decades due to Algeria’s support for the Polisario Front, which demands a self-determination referendum in Western Sahara, while Morocco, which controls around 80 per cent of the desert territory, has offered only autonomy.
EGYPT’S FIRST POST-MUBARAK RULER, TANTAWI, DIES AGED 85
Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt’s ruling military council that ruled Egypt in the aftermath of Hosni Mubarak’s ouster before being sacked by the country’s first freely elected leader, died on September 21, 2021 at the age of 85. After his stint as Egypt’s de facto leader, he spent his remaining years largely out of public view. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi paid tribute to him in a statement that confirmed his death, calling him one of “Egypt’s most loyal sons”. President Sisi declared a period of national mourning, without specifying how many days. The European Union’s delegation in Cairo paid tribute to Tantawi in a tweet, saying he had served Egypt “decades in crucial roles throughout his career.”