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[VOA] VOA 2020-12-06

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An earthquake of the magnitude 5.5 struck off the coast of Turkey's Mediterranean province of * Saturday. *observatory said the earthquake occurred at a depth of just 93 kilometers it said after revising the magnitude up from 5.4. Turkish media said the earthquake was felt in * and neighboring provinces. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damages to buildings.

Thousands of protestors rallied in the Armenia capital on Saturday had a renewed call for the prime minister to resign over a controversial peace agreement with Azerbaijan.  Armenian prime minister announced the Moscow-brokered agreement on * and in six weeks of war over the disputed region Nagorno-Karabakh that left thousands dead. Under the deal, Armenia agreed to cede three districts to * and in addition four others as Azerbaijan forces had one back during the fighting that had been controlled by Armenia separatist since the 1990s. These decisions sparked fury in Armenia where demonstrators stormed and ransack government buildings in a sense that nearly daily demonstration in Yerevan demanding that their leader to step down.
Saturday saw the biggest demonstration yet with some ten thousands protestors gathered at the Yerevan liberty square to according to AFP journalist who was there. The prime minister has said the peace deal was Armenia only option and that it ensured * survival.

Argentina's senate has passed a tax on about 12 thousand of the country's richest people to pay for coronavirus measures including medical supplies and relief for the poor and small businesses. The government hopes to raise 3.75 billion dollars with the tax.

Tens of thousands of royalists gathered in Bangkok Saturday to show their devotion to the Thai's monarchy on the birthday of the current king's late father. This comes amid months of street protest led by a youth movement demanding reform to royal powers. The current king led a candle-lighting ceremony in front of the grand palace in Bangkok to pay tribute to his late father who died in 2016 after reining for seven decades, during which he was seen by many as a symbol of national unity. In recent months though, the monarchy in Thailand has become a target for a youth-led protest movement that accuses the monarch and the government led by a former military chief * of expanding the royal power to a level not seen since the absolute monarchy ended in 1932. Protestors broke the long-lasting taboo by openly criticizing the king taking direct control of two military units and the * valued at tens of billions of dollars. The Saturday ceremony though was one of the biggest shows of royalists' support since the protests surged in July.

Oman plans to amend labour laws, introduce new taxation and end some "long-standing" subsidies while ensuring the low income families are protected, the gulf Arab state' foreign minister said on Saturday.
The minister told the IISS(International Institute for Strategic Studies) Manama dialogue summit in Bahrain that significant changes to labor policies would include abolishing a requirement that expatriate worker need permission to transfer to a new employer. That's one example. Low oil prices and the economic slowdown caused by the new coronavirus outbreak are straining the finance of Oman, the relatively small energy-producer with debt rated "junk" by all major rating agencies. Oman's new ruler has shaken up the government and state entities in an attempt to show investors that he is open to reforms.

Kuwaitis voted in legislative polls on Saturday with the gulf state mired in its worst economic crisis in decades, which poses a challenge for the government's relationship with the parliament blamed for blocking reforms. More than 300 candidates including 29 women are vying for 50 seats in the Gulf’s oldest and most out-spoken assembly with legislative powers.  Critics say it has stalled investment and economic and fiscal reform in the cradle-to-grave welfare state.
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