North Korea and Malaysia institute exit bans on each other’s citizens
- North Korea’s frustration at Malaysia’s handling of the investigation into the murder of the half-brother of leader Kim Jong Un led to the announcement of a ban on the departure of Malaysian nationals from the country.
- Malaysian PM Najib Razak responded by initially banning the departure of North Korean diplomatic staff before extending it to all North Koreans.
- Two people—an Indonesian woman and a Vietnamese woman—have been charged in the homicide, though they claim they believed to have been taking part in a prank.
“Kim Jong-nam death: Malaysia and N Korea in tit-for-tat exit bans” (BBC News | March 2017)
“North Korea, Malaysia’s diplomatic ties frayed over Kim Jong Nam’s death” (CNN | March 2017)
“Malaysia says talks on with North Korea for return of nine citizens” (Reuters | March 2017)
(Image Credit: Lai Seng Sin/Reuters)
Kazakhstan extends visa-free travel to 19 countries
- Following a successful pilot program over the past year, the Kazakh government has extended visa-free travel for up to 15 days to residents of Australia, Hungary, Italy, Monaco, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Finland, France, Switzerland and Japan.
- Should residents desire to stay longer than 15 days, they will be required to reenter or obtain a visa.
- The program will last through the end of 2017 and has been implemented as Kazakhstan plans to host two major international sporting and cultural events–Winter Universiade and Expo 2017–in the next two years.
Read the full story at Tengrinews.
(Image Credit: Infopass.ru, via Tengrinews)
Evangelical mega-community in Qatar granted construction permission for church
- The Evangelical Churches Alliance Qatar (ECAQ), home to a multi-ethnic community of 1,200, will construct its building outside of central Doha.
- The granting of building permits to churches is a recent phenomenon, with the first officially sanctioned church since pre-Islamic times going up in 2008.
- Only Abrahamic faiths are officially recognized in Qatar, and within Christianity, churches must belong to a select group of sects or receive sponsorship from one of the recognized sects.
“They have supported us throughout. … The government has been very supportive in providing us permissions to hold worship sessions, meetings and other celebrations like our Family Days over the years.”
Read the full story at Doha News.