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Two More Moscow Allies Stop Accepting Russian Payment Card

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Risk of US secondary sanctions forces banks in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to suspend financial ties and stop honoring Mir transfers

The use of the Mir payment card, which operates through a Russian payments system, will no longer be possible in Kyrgyzstan and in most Kazakh banks, as the former Soviet republics face the risk of Ukraine-related sanctions.

The Russian Mir payment card will stop working in Kyrgyzstan from Friday, April 5, the country’s local payments operator announced on Tuesday, saying that the nation’s payment infrastructure is exposed to the risk of secondary sanctions. Regulators in Kazakhstan haven’t issued any statement so far.

Last month, the Union of Armenian Banks said that that country’s lenders would stop honoring Mir cards from March 30, attributing its decision to the same reason. Belarus and Tajikistan may also stop accepting Mir cards, according to an unnamed source cited by Kommersant.

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Russia’s National Card Payment System (NSPK), which operates Mir, previously said that it had received a warning from Elkart, the Kyrgyz national payment system, that Mir would stop working in the Central Asian nation later this week.

According to the Interbank Processing Centre (IPC), users of Mir cards will no longer be able to make non-cash payments at point-of-sale terminals, to withdraw cash from ATMs, to transfer from card to card, or to make internet payments.

The Mir payment card system, which soared in popularity after Ukraine-related sanctions, has made it almost impossible for Russia to make cross-border transactions using Western money and payment systems such as SWIFT. In February, the US Treasury updated its backlist of Russian individuals and entities, adding the operator of Russia’s Mir payment card system to it.

The first deputy chairman of the Bank of Russia, Olga Skorobogatova, said that the regulator was working on solving the problem with foreign banks’ refusal to accept the Mir card. The Central Bank is studying the possibilities of expanding the ATM networks of Russian banks’ subsidiaries and using the Faster Payments System (SBP) in other countries.

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Victims of Domestic Violence Rally Against Proposed Joint Custody Laws in Japan, Citing Legal System Flaws

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In Japan, the debate over joint custody laws reveals deep societal concerns about family violence and its impact on victims. Critics argue the proposed joint custody laws could endanger victims by inadvertently reconnecting them with abusive ex-partners. Demonstrations have taken place, with advocates arguing that the system lacks effective measures to protect those affected by family violence.

Women, disproportionately impacted, represent a higher percentage of abuse reports. Allegations of physical abuse backed by photographic evidence and medical reports have been dismissed by the courts, leaving victims feeling helpless and ignored. On the other hand, parents deprived of their children’s presence argue the legal system fails to address their grievances or consider the emotional harm inflicted on both children and parents.

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Electricians’ Union Raises Alarm Over Unsafe Practices in Solar Industry

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In Australia, safety and employment conditions in the solar farm industry are raising concerns. There have been reports of unqualified workers, including backpackers on working holiday visas, doing electrical tasks that legally require licensed electricians. The electrical trades union has pointed out cases where trade assistants without proper qualifications or supervision performed risky electrical work.

Incidents include workers installing solar panels in water, posing a risk of electrocution. Poor working conditions have led to dissatisfaction among electricians, who feel their safety concerns and expertise are being ignored. The industry is currently facing a significant demand for electricians due to the rapid expansion of solar farm constructions, with 34 projects underway. The union is urging the renewable energy sector to invest in training a new generation of electricians to meet this demand.

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Tesla Faces Backlash from Cybertruck Owners Citing Multiple Performance Flaws

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