China sets modest economic targets as it seeks to bounce back from Covid woes

At the opening of the Communist party’s National People’s Congress, outgoing premier Li Keqiang confirmed a further rise in defence spending as well

China has set a target of 5% GDP growth in 2023, its outgoing premier has said in a speech to the ruling party’s rubber-stamp parliament – a goal that is at the lower end of analysts’ expectations and follows a 2022 figure that came in far below target.

The “work report” speech on Sunday also touched on foreign affairs and re-emphasised the Chinese Communist party’s (CCP’s) aim to annex Taiwan. Budget papers confirmed another consecutive rise in defence spending of 7.2%, slightly up on last year’s rise of 7.1%.

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Bangladesh: at least six people killed in fire after explosion at oxygen plant

Officials say death toll could rise as rescue operation continues in southeastern town of Sitakunda

At least six people were killed and several injured on Saturday when a fire broke out after an explosion at an oxygen plant in southeastern Bangladesh, officials said.

The death toll could rise as a rescue operation was ongoing at the plant at Sitakunda, 40km (25 miles) from the southeastern port city of Chittagong, they added.

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Huge fireball seen in Jakarta sky during blaze at fuel storage depot – video

At least 17 people including two children have died after a fire at state energy firm Pertamina’s Plumpang depot in the north of the Indonesian capital. Sixty people were injured, with many severely burned, while hundreds more living in residential areas near the depot had to be evacuated. Top officials have called for an investigation into the cause of the fire and an audit of the country’s energy facilities after several recent blazes

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Anger grows over Afghan journalists still stranded by Home Office inaction

Press members living under the Taliban, and living uncertain lives in Pakistan, must be given clarity say campaign groups

Hundreds of Afghan journalists remain stranded in increasingly “dire” circumstances as frustration mounts over the UK government’s refusal to share the latest entry criteria for its flagship resettlement programme.

This weekend, a coalition of press freedom and free expression organisations, including Index on Censorship, the National Union of Journalists, PEN International and English PEN, have written to home secretary Suella Braverman asking why details of the next phase of the Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme (ACRS) have yet to be revealed.

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