👋 Dobrý deň!*
Welcome to Tuesday, where Ukrainian ridicule Russian accusations that it is behind the murder Darya Dugina last week, the UK sees a record daily number of migrants reaching its shores, and the James Webb Telescope wows us again. Meanwhile, Hong-Kong-based outlet The Initium looks at the weight of new religious groups in Japan in the wake of Shinzo Abe’s assassination by a member of the Unification Church.
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• Ukraine denies involvement in Darya Dugina’s murder: Russia has blamed Ukraine’s special services for the murder Saturday of Darya Dugina, a journalist and daughter of a close Putin ally, accusing a Ukrainian woman now on the run in Estonia of being the perpetrator. Ukraine has firmly denied the allegations.
• Afghanistan floods death toll rises to 95: Afghan authorities have announced that 95 people died from flash floods in ten different provinces over the last ten days. Food aid has been dispatched to the affected areas and humanitarian organizations have promised assistance, but the Taliban fear it might not be enough as shelters and food crops have been destroyed.
• Trump sues DOJ over Mar-a-Lago search: Former President Donald Trump has sued the U.S. Department of Justice in a bid to block it from reviewing the White House files found during the warrant search of his home at Mar-a-Lago until a special watchdog is appointed by a federal judge.
• UK sees record number of migrants: 1,295 migrants, including young children and babies, crossed the English Channel on Monday, the highest daily total since records began in 2018. At least 22,560 people have made the dangerous journey so far this year, up from 12,500 during the same period in 2021 and 8,404 during the whole of 2020.
• Grain silos collapse in Beirut: The eight last remaining towers of the northern block of silos in the port of Beirut, Lebanon, collapsed on Monday. The silos were badly damaged by the 2020 blast that killed more than 200 people.
• Qatar deports migrants after wage protest: The Qatari government has deported several of the 60 migrant workers who protested against unpaid wages on Aug. 14, according to a labor rights group. Qatar confirmed that some had been detained, but did not give details on the deportations.• A Bolt move indeed: Legendary Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt has submitted an application to trademark a logo featuring his signature victory celebration pose: pointing towards the sky while leaning backwards. Now retired from athletic competitions, Bolt still holds the world records for the 100m and 200m.
German daily newspaper NEUE questions the possibility of “politics without privacy” on its front page, as it runs a caricature of Sanna Marin's "partygate" that put the Finnish Prime Minister in the spotlight after videos of her partying were leaked last week.
European gas and power prices jumped by 13% overnight, smashing a record with prices more than 14 times their average. This comes after a key pipeline in Kazakhstan was damaged, interrupting gas supplies to Europe, and in the wake of Russia announcing it would stop delivering gas for three days at the end of the month for maintenance purposes on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
Asian cults and castes, where new religions meet power politics
Emerging religions and cults in Asia are deeply intertwined with politics: in China, religions need political approval, while in Japan religious groups use political platforms to assert themselves. Not even the killing of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, carried out by a member of the Unification Church, has prompted a closer look at exactly what role religion plays in society, write Hu Qingxin and Yin Yuet for Chinese-language digital media outlet The Initium.
👎 In 1999, there were already around 2,000 emerging religious movements in Europe, between 800 and 1,000 in Japan, and perhaps 10,000 in the United States, Asia, Africa and Oceania combined, with a total of over 12 million adherents. But these new religions are often associated with negative portrayals, with ideas of cults, money laundering and brainwashing.
🇯🇵 Despite their entrance into the establishment and efforts to improve their image, certain types of emerging religious groups are indeed responsible for creating tragedy in the lives of many believers and their families. These groups have extremely tight control over their followers and once they have been initiated into the faith, it is difficult to get out. Such issues associated with religious groups in Japan are slowly being recognized.
📋 There are many choices that can give people a sense of security in life, when it comes to financial means, social status, personal aspirations, ideology, and so on. In Hong Kong society, a single apartment may be enough to solve most of one's anxieties; in China today, patriotism can also be, and is even being taught to be, a kind of spiritual trust.
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They couldn’t produce the desired weather, they were fired.
— Hungarian opposition politician Andras Fekete-Gyor added his voice to the outrage toward the government’s decision to fire the head of the national weather service and her deputy. Over the weekend, a severe thunderstorm warning led to the cancellation of one of Europe’s biggest fireworks displays in Budapest, but the storms ended up sparing the capital entirely.
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