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[VOA] VOA 2020-12-06

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An earthquake of the magnitude 5.5 struckoff the coast of Turkey's Mediterranean province of * Saturday. *observatorysaid the earthquake occurred at a depth of just 93 kilometers it said afterrevising the magnitude up from 5.4. Turkish media said the earthquake was feltin  and neighboring provinces. There were no immediate reports of casualtiesor damages to buildings.
Thousands of protestors rallied in theArmenia capital on Saturday had a renewed call for the prime minister to resignover a controversial peace agreement with Azerbaijan.
Armenian prime minister announced theMoscow-brokered agreement on * and in six weeks of war over the disputed regionNagorno-Karabakh that left thousand dead. Under the deal, Armenia agreed tocede three districts to * and in addition four others as Azerbaijan forces hadone back during the fighting that had been controlled by Armenia separatistsince the 1990s. These decisions sparked fury in Armenia where demonstratorsstormed and ransack government buildings in a sense that nearly dailydemonstration in Yerevan demanding that their leader to step down.
Saturday saw the biggest demonstration yetwith some ten thousand protestors gathered at the Yerevan liberty square toaccording to AFP journalist who was there. The prime minister has said thepeace deal was Armenia only option and that it ensured * survival.
Argentina's senate has passed a tax onabout 12 thousand of the country's richest people to pay for coronavirusmeasures including medical supplies and relief for the poor and smallbusinesses. The government hopes to raise 3.75 billion dollars with the tax.
Tens of thousands of royalists gathered inBangkok Saturday to show their devotion to the Thai's monarchy on the birthdayof the current king's late father. This comes amid months of street protest ledby a youth movement demanding reform to royal powers. The current king led acandle-lighting ceremony in front of the grand palace in Bangkok to pay tributeto his late father who died in 2016 after reining for seven decades, duringwhich he was seen by many as a symbol of national unity. In recent monthsthough, the monarchy in Thailand has become a target for a youth-led protestmovement 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 monarchyended in 1932. Protestors broke the long-lasting taboo by openly criticizingthe king taking direct control of two military units and the * valued at tensof billions of dollars. The Saturday ceremony though was one of the biggestshows of royalists' support since the protests surged in July.
Oman plans to amend * laws, introduce newtaxation and end some "long-standing" subsidies while ensuring thelow income families are protected, the gulf Arab state' foreign minister saidon Saturday.
The minister told the IISS(InternationalInstitute for Strategic Studies) Manama dialogue summit in Bahrain thatsignificant changes to labor policies would include abolishing a requirementthat expatriate worker need permission to transfer to a new employer. That'sone example. Low oil prices and the economic slowdown caused by the newcoronavirus outbreak are straining the finance of Oman, the relatively smallenergy-producer with debt rated "junk" by all major rating agencies.Oman's new ruler has shaken up the government and state entities in an attemptto show investors that he is open to reforms.
Kuwaitis voted in legislative polls onSaturday with the gulf state mired in its worst economic crisis in decades,which poses a challenge for the government's relationship with the parliamentblamed for blocking reforms. More than 300 candidates including 29 women arevying for 50 seats in the Gulf’s oldest and most out-spoken assembly withlegislative powers.
Critics say it hasstalled investment and economic and fiscal reform in the cradle-to-gravewelfare state.
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