News Headlines - 22 August 2023

Japan to begin contentious Fukushima radioactive water release Aug. 24

Japan will start releasing treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea on Thursday, weather conditions permitting, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said, despite concerns among local fishermen and persistent opposition from China.
The controversial decision was made at a ministerial meeting on Tuesday, as a significant amount of the water has accumulated at the site amid ongoing cleanup efforts following the 2011 nuclear accident triggered by a devastating earthquake and ensuing tsunami.

China points to CIA again in second case of alleged spy recruitment | South China Morning Post

China’s top anti-espionage agency, the Ministry of State Security, announced on Monday it arrested an official it says is a spy for the CIA.
It said a 39-year-old official surnamed Hao had been recruited by the US Central Intelligence Agency to become an American spy while studying in Japan. But it did not identify Hao’s sex or what ministry Hao worked for.
It is rare for China to publicly name other organisations or nations, but this is the second case of alleged espionage this month in which the ministry has directly pointed to the CIA.

Ecuador election heads to run-off vote, with González to face surprise second-place Noboa | CNN

Luisa González, of the Movimiento Revolución Ciudadana party, on Sunday took a lead in the first round of Ecuador’s presidential and legislative elections, which have been marred by political assassinations as the Andean nation struggles with a wave of violence that has brought homicide rates to record levels.
Gonzalez is set to face the surprise second-place finisher Daniel Noboa in a run-off election in October, according to the National Electoral Council of Ecuador (CNE), as neither candidate won more than 50% of the ballot.

Archdiocese of San Francisco files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy over child abuse lawsuits - CBS News

The Archdiocese of San Francisco is officially filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the wake of numerous claims of child sexual abuse allegedly committed by priests filed against it, according to an announcement Monday.

More Nihon Univ. football players suspected of cannabis possession - The Mainichi

Tokyo police again searched the dormitory of the Nihon University American football team on Tuesday after other players came under suspicion of possessing cannabis, investigative sources said.
The facility in Tokyo's Nakano Ward was previously searched on Aug. 3, leading to the arrest two days later of 21-year-old Noriyasu Kitabatake on suspicion of possessing cannabis and an illegal stimulant.

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News Headlines - 21 August 2023

Thailand’s Pheu Thai allies with military rivals to form new government | Al Jazeera

Thailand’s populist Pheu Thai Party has formed a coalition with 10 other parties, including two allied with its former military rivals, in a bid to form a new government and end three months of political deadlock.
The announcement on Monday came a day ahead of a parliamentary vote for a new prime minister and as Pheu Thai founder and former premier, Thaksin Shinawatra, prepares to return to the kingdom after 15 years in self-imposed exile.
Pheu Thai is expected to nominate real estate mogul Srettha Thavisin as the country’s next leader.

China targets Taiwanese mangoes in latest import suspension | The Asahi Shimbun

China’s customs authority has suspended mango imports from Taiwan from Monday after detecting pests in the fruit, the latest measures targeting Taiwanese agriculture which Taipei has denounced as being politically motivated... China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said that the pests, which it named as passionvine mealybug, had been found by customs on imported Taiwanese mangoes starting this year and that it needed to protect its own agriculture.

Season’s 1st Saury Fetches ¥200,000 Per Kilogram at Toyosu Martket - The Japan News

This season’s first batch of saury, also called sanma, fetched a new record wholesale price of ¥200,000 per kilogram, or ¥25,000 per fish, at Tokyo’s Toyosu market Monday, reflecting poor catches.
The first saury price, for fish weighing around 120 to 130 grams each, shot up from ¥120,000 per kilogram last year, for fish weighing about 110 grams.

2 men report to police over DJ Soda groping case

wo 20-year-old men surrendered to police Monday in connection with an incident where popular South Korean artist DJ Soda was allegedly groped by attendees at a recent music event in Japan, according to investigative sources.
Two men believed to be the suspects appeared in a YouTube video post the same day, apologizing for the incident while adding they were drunk when it happened and did it "lightheartedly."
Earlier in the day, the organizer of the event, held in Osaka Prefecture, filed a criminal complaint against two men and a woman on suspicion of indecent assault against DJ Soda on Aug. 13, the police said without identifying the three individuals.

Spain’s football chief criticised for kissing Women’s World Cup team player | Al Jazeera

Luis Rubiales, the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), has been slammed for kissing Spanish football player Jenni Hermoso during the FIFA Women’s World Cup post-match celebrations.
Spain beat the United Kingdom on Sunday, winning the title in Sydney, and Rubiales was one of the FIFA officials on stage, celebrating the team’s victory after they received their medals.
While he planted a kiss on the cheek of every other Spanish player after they received their gold medals, he kissed Spanish midfielder Hermoso on the lips.

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News Headlines - 18 August 2023

San Sebastian Film Festival :: Hayao Miyazaki to open the 71st San Sebastian Festival with ‘Kimitachi wa Do Ikiruka / The Boy and the Heron’

Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film, Kimitachi wa Do Ikiruka / The Boy and the Heron, will open the San Sebastian Festival’s 71st edition out of competition. Having shown at Toronto Festival on 7 September, San Sebastian will host the European premiere of the latest proposal from the director of Spirited Away. The movie will screen in the Kursaal Auditorium on Friday, 22 September, after the opening gala.

South Korean celebrity DJ Soda was sexually harassed at a recent music festival in Osaka. - The Japan News

A South Korean DJ was sexually harassed by some audience members at an outdoor music event that was held in Osaka from Aug. 11 to 13, according to an Osaka event management company.
The company, TryHard Japan, has announced on its website that DJ Soda was touched on her breast during the music event she attended.

Bradley Cooper sparks 'Jewface' controversy over prosthetic nose in Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro trailer: 'So many great Jewish actors out there' | Daily Mail Online

Bradley Cooper's prosthetic nose in the newly-released trailer for Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro has sparked online chatter, with some calling out the actor/director for playing to 'Jewface' stereotypes with the exaggerated facial feature and the casting of a non-Jewish actor in a Jewish role... On social media, many users sounded off on the size of the prosthetic - which was visible as he filmed the movie in 2022 - with some using photos to show that Bernstein's nose was not close to that size... Another user added that 'there was no need for Bradley Cooper to add an odd prosthetic nose on top of this to play Leonard Bernstein,' as 'his own nose is longer!'

Man arrested after parachuting off Eiffel Tower

The man, an experienced climber, entered the tower’s perimeter shortly after 5.00 am (0300 GMT), well before its official opening.
He was quickly detected by guards, according to the site’s operator Sete, but still managed to get to the top before anybody could stop him, carrying the parachute in a backpack.

Rudy Giuliani made desperate appeal to Trump to pay his legal bills in Mar-a-Lago meeting | CNN Politics

With his attorney in tow, Rudy Giuliani traveled to Mar-a-Lago in recent months on a mission to make a personal and desperate appeal to former President Donald Trump to pay his legal bills. By going in person, a source familiar with the matter told CNN, Giuliani and his lawyer Robert Costello believed they could explain face-to-face why Trump needed to assist his former attorney with his ballooning legal bills.
Giuliani and Costello traveled to Florida in late April where they had two meetings with Trump to discuss Giuliani’s seven-figure legal fees, making several pitches about how paying Giuliani’s bills was ultimately in Trump’s best interest.

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News Headlines - 17 August 2023

China's fertility rate drops to record low 1.09 in 2022- state media | Reuters

China's fertility rate is estimated to have dropped to a record low of 1.09 in 2022, the National Business Daily said on Tuesday, a figure likely to rattle authorities as they try to boost the country's declining number of new births.
The state-backed Daily said the figure from China's Population and Development Research Center put it as having the lowest fertility level among countries with a population of more than 100 million.
China's fertility rate is already one of the world's lowest alongside South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Zhongzhi, China’s troubled US$137 billion shadow bank, plans debt restructuring, hires KPMG | South China Morning Post

Zhongzhi Enterprise Group hired KPMG in late July to review its balance sheet amid a worsening liquidity crunch, said the people, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. The Beijing-based company plans to restructure debt and sell assets after the review to repay investors, the people said. The company manages more than 1 trillion yuan (US$137 billion) of assets.

Pump price close to record in Japan|Arab News Japan

The average retail price of regular gasoline in Japan is close to its record high of 185.1 yen per liter due to high crude oil prices, a weaker yen and a gradual reduction in state subsidies aimed at lowering pump prices.
The industry ministry said Wednesday that the country’s average pump price as of Monday rose by 1.6 yen from a week before to 181.9 yen per liter, climbing for the 13th consecutive week and marking the highest level since August 2008.

Editorial: Japan's 6% economic growth not felt among public amid high prices - The Mainichi

Japan's real gross domestic product grew at an annual pace of 6% in the April-June period. Since the government downgraded COVID-19's legal status in May, it appears the economy is recovering smoothly.
However, while the figure itself suggests a level of growth seen during the country's economic "bubble" period from the 1980s to early 1990s, it is unlikely that many people who are struggling amid rising prices can feel it.

British Museum sacks staff member after items vanish from collection | The Guardian

The British Museum has sacked a member of staff and imposed “emergency measures” to increase security after it found items from its collection to be missing.
It launched an independent review of security after items including gold jewellery and gems of semiprecious stones and glass dating from the 15th century BC to the 19th century AD were found to be missing, stolen or damaged.
Legal action against the dismissed member of staff will be taken and the matter is also being investigated by the economic crime command of the Metropolitan police.

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News Headlines - 16 August 2023

Argentina devalues peso by more than 20% after primary | Buenos Aires Times

Argentina allowed its currency to weaken by more than 20 percent on official markets Monday in anticipation of a market backlashto outsider libertarian economist Javier Milei’s upset primary election win.
The peso was trading at 365.50 per US dollar at the Banco Nación state bank by midday, compared to a close of 298.50 last Friday.
The Central Bank moved to raise interest rates by 21 points to 118 percent to contain deposits in bank accounts and calm turmoil – in its third big hike in five months.

Hawaiian Electric faces 3 lawsuits after Maui wildfires

Hawaii's primary energy provider faces at least three lawsuits, two of which seek class action status, after catastrophic wildfires devastated the state, killing at least 99 people and destroying the historic town of Lahaina on Maui.

Japanese mountaineer dies and another is injured while climbing a never-scaled peak in Pakistan | AP News

A Japanese mountaineer is presumed dead after he and his partner fell about 70 meters (230 feet) while climbing a never-scaled mountain in northern Pakistan, their tour operator and a mountaineering official said Wednesday. The second climber, also Japanese, was injured.
The accident occurred Friday afternoon as the pair climbed a mountain in the Andaq Valley, part of northern Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region which is also home to K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, said Karakarom Tours Pakistan.
The climbers, Shinji Tamura and Takayasu Semba, fell when they had reached an altitude of 5,380 meters (17,650 feet), the tour operator said in a statement.

Drunk American tourists caught sleeping on the Eiffel Tower overnight | Euronews

Two American tourists were discovered sleeping inside the Eiffel Tower on Monday after getting stuck while drunk.
Security guards found the two men in an area between the second and third levels that is usually closed to the public.
Paris prosecutors told AFP that they “appear to have got stuck because of how drunk they were”.

Algeria bans 'Barbie' movie, media and official source say | Reuters

Algeria has banned the movie "Barbie," which had been showing at some cinemas in the country for several weeks, an official source and the local 24H Algerie news site said on Monday.
The official source said the film "promotes homosexuality and other Western deviances" and that it "does not comply with Algeria's religious and cultural beliefs."

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News Headlines - 15 August 2023

Typhoon No. 7 makes landfall in western Japan, threatens damage | The Asahi Shimbun

More than 800 flights were cancelled and tens of thousands of homes lost power as a slow-moving typhoon made landfall in western Japan early on Tuesday, prompting authorities to issue flood and landslide warnings, public broadcaster NHK said.
Approaching from the Pacific Ocean, Typhoon No. 7 made landfall at the southern tip of Wakayama Prefecture, some 400 kilometers (250 miles) southwest of Tokyo.
The typhoon, which followed closely on the heels of Typhoon No. 6 during Japan's peak Obon holiday season, lashed wide swathes of central and western Japan with heavy rains and powerful winds.

Banks Negative about Refinancing Bigmotor Loans - The Japan News

Creditor banks of used car dealer Bigmotor Co. have shown intention of refusing the scandal-hit company’s request for refinancing its ¥9 billion debt falling due in mid-August, it was learned Monday... Although Bigmotor has more than ¥30 billion in cash and deposits, the banks have concluded that keeping extending loans to the firm is risky, people familiar with the matter said.

Japan digital minister to return pay over My Number issues

Japanese Digital Minister Taro Kono said Tuesday he will voluntarily return three months of his salary as a Cabinet member to take responsibility over a string of errors involving the "My Number" national identification system... A series of personal information leaks and registration errors related to the ID cards have heightened public anxiety about the system, triggering a decline in approval ratings for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's Cabinet in recent months.

China stops releasing youth unemployment data after it hit consecutive record highs | CNN Business

China has suspended the release of monthly data on joblessness among young people, after the figure hit consecutive record highs in recent months amid a broader economic slump.
The news, which drew immediate backlash and ridicule on social media, was announced by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Tuesday, when it released its regular batch of monthly economic indicators. Previously, the NBS unveiled urban unemployment rates for 16- to 24-year olds each month.

Missile hits Swedish SKF factory in Ukraine, killing three | Reuters

Swedish bearings maker SKF said on Tuesday its factory in Lutsk, Ukraine was hit by a missile overnight, killing three employees.
Ukrainian officials said Russian air strikes had hit two western regions of Ukraine and other areas on Tuesday, killing three people and wounding more than a dozen.

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News Headlines - 14 August 2023

New York Times drops out of AI coalition | Semafor

The New York Times has decided not to join a group of media companies attempting to jointly negotiate with the major tech companies over use of their content to power artificial intelligence.
The move is a major blow to efforts to Barry Diller’s efforts to establish an industry united front against Google and Microsoft.

Japan honey exec accused of child porn violation, hiring woman to snatch bathhouse shots - The Mainichi

A senior executive of a major honey maker has been arrested on suspicion of paying a woman to take images of naked women at a bathhouse as well as inducing an underage girl to send him indecent videos, police here announced on Aug. 14.
Mitsuo Yamada, 33, managing director of Tsuyama, Okayama Prefecture-based Yamada Bee Farm, is accused of breaking metro Tokyo's anti-nuisance ordinance by having a 27-year-old woman enter a bathhouse in Hachioji, Tokyo, to take images of naked women in the changeroom in December 2022. Police say the woman used a smartphone in a waterproof cover hung from her neck to take the shots.

Candidate registrations for Iran's parliamentary elections hit record high | AP News

A record number of people registered to become candidates in Iran’s parliamentary elections scheduled for March, the Interior Ministry said Monday.
The elections will be the first since nationwide protests rocked the country last year.
Nearly 49,000 people filed paperwork seeking to run as candidates during a one-week registration period that ended on Sunday, the ministry website said.

Moises Caicedo transfer news: Chelsea sign Brighton midfielder for £100m - BBC Sport

Chelsea have completed the signing of Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo for a £100m fee that could rise to a British club record of £115m.
Liverpool agreed a £111m deal for the 21-year-old Ecuador player on Friday.
But Caicedo's preference was Chelsea and they finally succeeded with a bid on Sunday evening after having a succession of offers rejected.

Olympics-Los Angeles 2028 decision on new sports in next few weeks-IFAF | Reuters

A decision on which new sports will be included in the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics is likely to come in the next few weeks, the head of the International Federation of American Football said on Monday.
Flag football, a non-contact format of American football played by teams of five, is trying along with eight other sports to get onto the 2028 Games programme as one of the events that can be added by the local organisers.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) then needs to ratify that decision when it meets in Mumbai in October.

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News Headlines - 13 August 2023

Polish President Calls for All (U.S.) Hands on Deck ━ The European Conservative

Polish President Andrzej Duda has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of harboring imperialist ambitions and has called for him to be brought to heel now, lest American soldiers be called upon to intervene in Europe, as they did in the two World Wars.
Duda made the striking remark during an hour-long conversation with The Washington Post, conducted in the presidential palace in Warsaw, of which the publication released two extracts (here and here) last Thursday, August 10th.

Ecuadorian Journalist to Take Assassinated Candidate’s Place on Presidential Ticket | Time

The party of assassinated Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio has chosen a friend and close associate of his, Christian Zurita, to run in the nation’s convulsed elections.
Zurita, 53, is an investigative reporter from Quito who, like Villavicencio, has written extensively on domestic corruption. Zurita is the second candidate put forward by the centrist Construye party since Villavicencio was assassinated on Wednesday.

Nihon University Phoenix Suspended for Time Being | JIJI PRESS

Japan's Kantoh Collegiate Football Association Thursday suspended the Nihon University Phoenix for the time being for the arrest of a member of the team for alleged possession of illegal substances... The Phoenix had been suspended indefinitely by the university since Noriyasu Kitabatake, a 21-year-old member of the team, was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of possessing stimulants and marijuana.
The university removed the measure on Thursday. But the association decided to suspend the Phoenix, saying the facts had not been fully clarified and that it was unclear where responsibility lay.

Museums reach the tipping point in struggle to survive | The Asahi Shimbun

During the past week, the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo’s Ueno district started to seek donations from the public via a crowdfunding campaign to secure funds to cover the expenses of collecting and preserving samples and materials. Its goal of raising 100 million yen ($690,130) was achieved in just nine hours. As of Aug. 11, the figure had hit around 600 million yen.

Toronto gay couple wins lawsuit in Italy after son's birth photo used without consent | CTV News

A same-sex couple from Toronto took on Italy’s ruling right-wing political party and won after a moving image of their first moments with their newborn son was used without their consent in an anti-surrogacy campaign.
In 2014, BJ Barone and Frankie Nelson welcomed their son Milo with the help of a gestational surrogate... That photograph went viral, but not long after it was used without consent by the Fratelli d’Italia.
It was also used without permission by independent Irish politician Mary Fitzgibbons to push her platform against surrogacy for gay parents in that country’s February 2016 general election, but has since been taken down.

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News Headlines - 12 August 2023

Armenia calls for UN help on Nagorno-Karabakh’s humanitarian situation | Al Jazeera

Armenia appealed to the UN Security Council to convene an emergency meeting over what it called a “deteriorating humanitarian situation” in Nagorno-Karabakh after accusing Azerbaijan of blocking supplies to the disputed region.
“The severe shortage of essential goods including food, medicine and fuel has been particularly exacerbated since 15 June 2023, when Azerbaijan completely blocked the Lachin corridor – the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia and the outer world – by denying any form of access to Nagorno-Karabakh, including humanitarian,” Armenia’s permanent representative to the UN, Mher Margaryan, wrote in a letter.

6 dead, more than 50 rescued from capsized migrant boat in the English Channel

An overloaded boat carrying migrants capsized before dawn Saturday in the English Channel, killing at least six people and leaving more than 50 others to be rescued, according to French authorities.
About 65 people were estimated to have boarded the boat and two people may still be lost at sea, the Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea said.

Yemen: UN removes 1m barrels of oil from ageing tanker to avert environmental catastrophe | The Guardian

The transfer of more than 1 million barrels of oil from an ageing tanker moored off the coast of war-torn Yemen has been completed, avoiding an environmental disaster, the UN has said.
In a statement on Friday, Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesperson for UN secretary general António Guterres, said the operation had prevented a “monumental environmental and humanitarian catastrophe”.
An international team began siphoning the oil from the dilapidated vessel known as FSO Safer on 25 July. Almost all the oil is now aboard a replacement tanker called MOST Yemen.

Virgin Galactic is finally sending its first tourists to space

Virgin Galactic is taking its first space tourists on a long-delayed rocket ship ride, including a former British Olympian who bought his ticket 18 years ago and a mother-daughter duo from the Caribbean... Virgin Galactic passenger Jon Goodwin, who was among the first to buy a ticket in 2005, said he had faith that he would someday make the trip. The 80-year-old athlete — he competed in canoeing in the 1972 Olympics — has Parkinson’s disease and wants to be an inspiration to others.

Central Japan Town Sets Guinness Record for Wind Bells | JIJI PRESS

The town of Iijima, Nagano Prefecture, central Japan, held a local festival on Saturday, in which 10,000 "furin" wind bells were displayed.
This was recognized as the largest number of furin on display by the Guinness World Records, according to the organizers.

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News Headlines - 11 August 2023

'Egotistic' mountaineer is pictured celebrating reaching the summit of K2 just moments after climbers 'walked over dying porter': Critics accuse team of being 'more interested in setting records' and reveal how explorers threw a PARTY after reaching top | Daily Mail Online

An 'egotistic' mountaineer has been pictured celebrating reaching the summit of K2 just moments after climbers 'walked over a dying porter'.
Critics accused Norwegian climber Kristin Harila and her team of being 'more interested in setting records' than helping the dying Sherpa. They also revealed how Harila and her team threw a party after reaching the top of the mountain.

Ecuador presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio assassinated at campaign event | CNN

A candidate in Ecuador’s upcoming presidential election, Fernando Villavicencio, was assassinated at a campaign event in the capital Wednesday, as a deadly escalation of violence and crime grips the South American country.
The bloody incident prompted Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso to request help from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

South Africa's ex-president Zuma released an hour after reporting at prison - World News

In the latest twist arising from a sentence for contempt of court, Zuma was ordered to report back to jail, arriving at 6:00 am (0400 GMT) at a detention facility in the eastern town of Estcourt, the prison service said.
There, he was "admitted into the system" -- only to be let go in just over an hour, under a "remission process" to ease overcrowding in prison, according to the national commissioner of correctional services, Makgothi Thobakgale.

Saudi Arabia pushes to join fighter jet project with UK, Italy and Japan | Financial Times

Saudi Arabia is pushing the UK, Japan and Italy to allow it to become a full partner in the landmark next-generation fighter jet project that the three countries signed in December.
The request, confirmed by five senior officials in London, Tokyo and Rome, has already created strains within the tri-national alliance. While the UK and Italy are open to the idea of Saudi membership, Japan is firmly opposed and has made its position clear to the other two.

Iran Slows Buildup of Uranium Needed for Weapon - WSJ

Iran has significantly slowed the pace at which it is accumulating near-weapons-grade enriched uranium and has diluted some of its stockpile, people briefed on the matter said Friday, moves that could help ease tensions with the U.S. and allow the resumption of broader talks over its controversial nuclear program.

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News Headlines - 21 July 2023

Manipur state, India: Shocking video emerges of sexual assault amid ethnic violence | CNN

A graphic video showing two women forced by a mob to walk naked in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur has sparked outrage after it emerged on social media and prompted the country’s leader Narendra Modi to break his silence on the months-long inter-ethnic conflict tearing the state apart.
The viral video depicts an incident from May 4, according to the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) but police only made arrests once the footage went online this week.

Chinese hackers breached US ambassador to China's email account | CNN Politics

China-based hackers breached the email account of US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns as part of a recent targeted intelligence-gathering campaign, three US officials familiar with the matter told CNN... The news, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, adds to the fallout for the US of the alleged Chinese hack first revealed last week.

Contrary to claims, Pfizer plant damaged by tornado didn’t hold COVID vaccines | AP News

Pfizer does not manufacture or store its COVID-19 vaccine or treatment for the disease at the facility, a company representative told The Associated Press. The plant is used to manufacture sterile injectable medicines, such as drugs used in IV infusions... But the news quickly gave rise to false claims online that the twister had struck a site specifically storing doses of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine — which has been the center of persistent misinformation since its release in December 2020.

From heatwaves to hailstorms: Italy is blowing hot and cold | Euronews

An extraordinary hailstorm in Seregna, a town near Milan in northern Italy, injured more than a hundred people on Thursday.
Torrential rain swept across northern Italy on Friday, 21 July, bringing high winds, hail and flash flooding... The bad weather comes as the heatwave in the South continues unabated.
In Sicily, temperatures are hovering around 45 ºC and the power grid is overloaded as residents have been warned to stay indoors and turn up the air con.

Escaped ‘lioness’ in Berlin was most likely a wild boar, mayor says | The Guardian

A 30-hour search for an escaped lioness that had residents on the southern fringes of Berlin shelter in their homes and the rest of the German capital on tenterhooks has found that what was thought to be an exotic feline predator was most likely a common wild pig.
After no more sightings of the big cat were reported overnight, Michael Grubert, the mayor of the municipality of Kleinmachnow, said two leading experts had analysed the video that had originally triggered the lion hunt.

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News Headlines - 13 June 2023

Cabinet approves Kishida's child care policies but questions remain over funding | The Japan Times

The Cabinet on Tuesday approved a package of policies designed to tackle Japan’s long-pressing issue of a declining birthrate, although it was short on details on how to secure the necessary funding for an increased child care budget.
Since Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed early this year to introduce “unprecedented steps” to stop the fall in the number of births and the fertility rate in order to head off a severe long-term economic impact, the public has been waiting to hear what that would involve... The government aims to expand the distribution of allowances to child-rearing households by abolishing the income cap.
Currently, parents with children up to 2 years old — and under a certain income threshold — receive ¥15,000 a month per child, with that figure dropping to ¥10,000 per month for children between the ages of 3 and 15. But under the new plan, the income cap will be abolished, with the ¥10,000 benefit expanded to cover children up to 18 years old, and the amount increased to ¥30,000 per child through the end of high school for the third child and beyond.

Japanese talent agency's probe into alleged abuse by Johnny Kitagawa aims to prevent future cases | AP News

An investigation by a major Japanese talent agency into sexual abuse allegations against its founder won’t address monetary or criminality questions but rather aims to prevent such cases in the future, the lead investigator said Monday.
“We see what has happened at the company and this is a serious governance problem,” Makoto Hayashi, a former prosecutor, told reporters at a Tokyo hotel.

Toyota to roll out solid-state-battery EVs as soon as 2027 - Nikkei Asia

Toyota Motor aims to release an electric vehicle powered by an all-solid-state battery as early as 2027, with the technology expected to more than double the car's range from a single charge.
The Japanese automaker revealed the plans in a recent briefing at a research base in Shizuoka prefecture. The technology is expected to be commercialized in 2027 or 2028.

Sumitomo Mitsui, CCC Unveil Name of Unified Point Program - JIJI PRESS

Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. and Culture Convenience Club Co. said Tuesday that their integrated loyalty point program will inherit the name of Sumitomo Mitsui's V Point and the yellow and blue logo colors of CCC's T-Point.

Civilian deaths in Myanmar ‘higher than reported’

More than 6,300 civilians were killed in Myanmar in the first 20 months after the February 2021 military coup, a report published on Tuesday by the Peace Research Institute of Oslo said... That toll is much higher than others that have circulated, including those from international organisations... According to the report, almost half of the deaths, 3,003, were attributed to the regime — the army, police and militias — while 2,152 were attributed to armed opposition groups.

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News Headlines - 12 June 2023

RNZ chief executive apologises after pro-Russian sentiment added to stories | RNZ News

RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson says the New Zealand public has been let down after pro-Russian sentiment was added to a number of its online stories without senior management realising.
It comes after readers noticed the text of a Reuters story about Russia's invasion of Ukraine published on RNZ was changed... So far, 250 stories published by RNZ have been audited, with chief executive Paul Thompson saying thousands more would be checked "with a fine-tooth comb".

Pakistan gets first shipment of Russian crude under discount deal | Al Jazeera

Pakistan has received its first shipment of Russian crude oil under an agreement signed between the two countries in April, but experts believe it will be too soon to say if the deal will provide significant benefit to domestic consumers.

Wagner Chief Defies Russian Military’s Orders to Formalize Hierarchy - The Moscow Times

The head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group has said he will not sign contracts with the military that seek to formalize the hierarchy of forces fighting in Ukraine.
The defiance is the latest episode in the public feud between Wagner, which has been at the forefront of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine for several months, and the Defense Ministry.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said Saturday that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had ordered “volunteer detachments” to sign contracts with the military by July 1. The military has previously referred to Wagner as a “volunteer assault unit.”

Ukrainian refugee wins 500,000 euros in Belgian lottery | Reuters

A Ukrainian war refugee has won 500,000 euros ($540,000) using a scratchcard, the Belgian national lottery said on Monday... The winner, whose identity will remain unknown as is the case for all Belgian lottery winners, is between 18 and 24 years old and has been living in Brussels for the last 12 months.

New 'Black Jack' manga episode created using AI to be released in fall | The Japan Times

A new episode of the famous Osamu Tezuka manga “Black Jack,” created with the help of artificial intelligence, will be released this fall, organizers of the project said Monday.
For the project, the creators from Tezuka Productions have used AI that has been trained on the structure of past plots and the relationships between characters of “Black Jack,” a medical drama consisting of over 200 episodes about a genius but unlicensed surgeon, the story’s namesake character... Organizers, including Makoto Tezuka, son of Osamu Tezuka and director at Tezuka Productions, said they hope to ascertain how far AI can assist humans in creating manga, noting that the project is not meant to replace creators.

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News Headlines - 24 April 2023

Nippon Ishin’s election gains strike fear into heart of LDP | The Asahi Shimbun

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party was on edge despite securing an 80-percent success rate in the Diet by-elections on April 23... But what was most upsetting for the ruling party was its loss to Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) in Wakayama Prefecture.
Yumi Hayashi, 41, of Nippon Ishin, won the Lower House seat for the Wakayama No. 1 district, giving the opposition party its first Diet seat in Wakayama Prefecture, close to its stronghold in Osaka Prefecture.
Wakayama Prefecture is traditionally considered a bastion of conservatives. Its apparent shift to Nippon Ishin cemented fears within the LDP that the Osaka-based party is becoming a serious threat to the LDP’s dominance.

TEPCO: Fuel debris likely created holes in Fukushima reactor | NHK WORLD

The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says the melted fuel debris likely created holes in the pressure vessel of one of its reactors... The No.1 reactor and two others suffered meltdowns in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The containment vessels are filled with water to cool down the fuel.TEPCO officials said a video taken by an underwater robot shows that a device installed in the reactor pressure vessel's bottom is missing, and there is a dark space where the bottom should be.
The officials also said cooling water is cascading down towards the spot just under the bottom.

Harry Potter theme park in Tokyo unveiled ahead of June 16 opening | The Japan Times

A Harry Potter theme park has been unveiled in Tokyo at a media preview ahead of its scheduled opening on June 16.
The Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo — The Making of Harry Potter will be the company’s second attraction themed on the popular films, based on the famous novels by British author J.K. Rowling, following the success of a similar theme park in London.

Kenya: Body count rises to 47 in starvation cult case – DW

Police investigating a Christian suicide cult whose members are believed to have starved themselves to death, exhumed another 26 bodies in Malindi, Kenya, on Sunday. The grim discovery, brings the total number of bodies found so far up to 47... The deceased are thought to have been followers of Christian cult leader Paul Makenzie Nthenge, who reportedly told them to starve themselves in order to "meet Jesus."

Ukraine needs ‘10 times more’ weapons aid to fight Russia, official says | South China Morning Post

Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrij Melnyk called for “10 times more” Western military aid as his country struggles to fight off the Russian invasion.
“We are thankful to our allies for their military help. But: it is not enough. Ukraine needs 10 times more to finish Russian aggression this year,” Melnyk, an outspoken former Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

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News Headlines - 14 April 2023

Japan Self-Defense Forces may have found bodies from missing helicopter | NHK WORLD

Japan's Self-Defense Forces have found part of a helicopter that disappeared last week with 10 people on board in waters in southwestern Japan. A search and rescue team believes they have found at least one body.
Defense Ministry sources say an underwater camera has captured what appears to be part of the missing Ground Self-Defense Force helicopter and a body. They say that more than one body may have been found.

Japan's Total Mpox Cases Top 100 | JIJI PRESS

The cumulative number of mpox cases in Japan has reached 106, of which 98 were confirmed this year, health ministry data have shown... The disease, previously known as monkeypox, also spreads through contact with rashes or body fluids of infected people.

Haruki Murakami’s first novel in six years hits shelves in Japan | The Japan Times

“The City and Its Uncertain Walls” (“Machi to Sono Futashikana Kabe”) hit shelves in Japan on April 13. It’s the first full-length novel in six years from the beloved bestselling author.
The 661-page book follows a narrator into a city with high walls, seeking the “true self” of a crush. Over three parts, the narrator moves from 17 years old to middle age, and the story shifts between reality and a dream-like state.

CDP's Konishi Resigns from Key Party Post after Gaffe | JIJI PRESS

Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Hiroyuki Konishi on Tuesday resigned from the post of chair of the party's policy council in the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament, after making a remark deemed insulting.

Traditional Bihu dance performance of India's Assam sets Guinness record-Xinhua

India's northeastern state of Assam has created history with the largest-ever Bihu dance performance at a single venue, officials said Friday.
The performance at the Sarusajai Stadium in Guwahati, the main city of Assam, on Thursday evening made it to the Guinness World Records.
According to officials, 11,304 dancers and drummers performed Bihu dance. The largest ensemble of 2,548 Assamese drum players also performed with the dancers breaking the previous world record of 1,356 drums.

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News Headlines - 13 April 2023

French pension protesters flood LVMH headquarters in Paris | Reuters

Scores of French workers protesting against pension reforms flooded into the Paris headquarters of luxury group LVMH on Thursday, calling for the rich to contribute more to financing the state pension.
More than 100 protesters were seen milling around the wood-panelled entrance hall of the building on the upscale Avenue Montaigne and climbing an escalator that leads to the upper floors, while others filled the street outside, many waving flags of the railway workers' union Sud Rail.

US thinks UN chief too accommodating to Moscow, leaked files suggest - BBC News

The US believes the UN secretary general is too willing to accommodate Russian interests, according to fresh revelations in classified documents leaked online.
The files suggest Washington has been closely monitoring Antonio Guterres.
Several documents describe private communications involving Mr Guterres and his deputy.

North Korean missile launch briefly sparks evacuation order in Japan | The Guardian

The launch by North Korea of what could be a new type of ballistic missile on Thursday morning caused fear and confusion in Japan after a government-run alert system warned residents that the projectile could fall on or close to the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.
The emergency broadcasting system – J-Alert – told millions of people in Hokkaido to take immediate cover after the North test-fired what appeared to be a long-range missile.
The system issued the evacuation warning just before 8am local time, but lifted it soon after, saying it had “erroneously” predicted that the missile would fall near the island.

S.Korean foundation makes payment to some plaintiffs over wartime labor | NHK WORLD

A foundation affiliated with the South Korean government has made payments to some plaintiffs over wartime labor issues in place of Japanese firms that were ordered to pay compensation.
Sources familiar with the matter said the payments were made this month.

New BOJ chief Ueda backs ultraeasy policy as he takes helm - Nikkei Asia

New Bank of Japan Gov. Kazuo Ueda on Monday underlined his intention to maintain the unconventional monetary policy of the last 10 years, noting that a sudden shift in monetary policy would cause disruption to the financial system.
More specifically, Ueda backed yield curve control (YCC) and negative rates -- two of the most controversial elements of Japan's monetary policy. YCC is a policy of pegging 10-year Japanese government bond yields around zero, while the negative rates policy (NIRP) keeps short-term rates at minus 0.1%.

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News Headlines - 12 April 2023

Airstrikes on Myanmar village feared to have killed 100 - The Mainichi

Airstrikes by Myanmar's military on Tuesday killed as many as 100 people, including many children, who were attending a ceremony held by opponents of army rule, said a witness, a member of a local pro-democracy group and independent media... A witness told The Associated Press that a fighter jet dropped bombs directly into a crowd of people who were gathering at 8 a.m. for the opening of a local office of the country's opposition movement outside Pazigyi village in Sagaing region's Kanbalu township.

China notifies its plan to impose no-fly zone north of Taiwan next week | NHK WORLD

Taiwan's transportation ministry says it was notified by China that Beijing will impose a no-fly zone north of Taiwan next week... China said the duration would be from April 16 through April 18 for five hours per day. It was reduced to about half an hour on only April 16, following the complaint lodged by the ministry.
Beijing says it will conduct aerospace activities in the area.

Volcano erupts in Russian far east, followed by an earthquake | Reuters

One of Russia's most active volcanoes erupted on the far eastern Kamchatka peninsula on Tuesday, shooting a vast cloud of ash far into the sky that smothered villages in drifts of grey volcanic dust and triggered an aviation warning.
The Shiveluch volcano erupted just after midnight and reached a crescendo about six hours later, spewing out an ash cloud over an area of 108,000 square kilometres (41,700 square miles), according to the Kamchatka Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Geophysical Survey.
Lava flows tumbled from the volcano, melting snow and prompting a warning of mud flows along a nearby highway while villages were carpeted in drifts of grey ash as deep as 8.5 centimetres (3.5 inches), the deepest in 60 years.

Japan's population falls under 125m in 12th year of decline - Nikkei Asia

Japan's population shrank by 556,000 in 2022 from a year earlier to 124.9 million for the 12th straight year of decrease, as the number of Japanese nationals saw its largest drop on record, government data showed Wednesday.
As of Oct. 1, the population, including foreign residents, stood at 124,947,000, with the number of Japanese nationals down 750,000 to 122,031,000, the largest margin of decline since comparable data were made available in 1950, the data said.

Ex-J-pop hopeful alleges sexual abuse by late music mogul Kitagawa

A former member of Japan's top male talent agency and production company Johnny & Associates Inc. said Wednesday he was sexually abused on multiple occasions as a young teen by the firm's late founder Johnny Kitagawa.
Kauan Okamoto, a 26-year-old Japanese-Brazilian singer and songwriter, claimed during a press conference that he had abused by Kitagawa about 15 to 20 times between 2012 and 2016, when he was still a member of the agency, adding he knew of at least three others who had gone through similar ordeals... The allegations surrounding Kitagawa have garnered the spotlight abroad after the BBC aired a documentary in March that included interviews with people besides Okamoto who said they had been sexually abused by the mogul.

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News Headlines - 11 April 2023

IMF lowers 2023 global growth forecast to 2.8%, down from 2.9% | Euronews

The outlook for the world economy this year has dimmed in the face of chronically high inflation, rising interest rates and uncertainties resulting from the collapse of two big American banks.
That's the view of the International Monetary Fund, which on Tuesday downgraded its outlook for global economic growth. The IMF now envisions growth this year of 2.8%, down from 3.4% in 2022 and from the 2.9% estimate for 2023 it made in its previous forecast in January.

China proposes measures to manage generative AI services | Reuters

China's cyberspace regulator unveiled draft measures on Tuesday for managing generative artificial intelligence services, saying it wants firms to submit security assessments to authorities before they launch their offerings to the public.
The rules drafted by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) come as several governments are considering how to mitigate the dangers of the emerging technology, which has experienced a boom in investment and consumer popularity in recent months after the release of OpenAI's ChatGPT.
They also come after a slew of Chinese tech giants, including Baidu, SenseTime and Alibaba, showed off in recent weeks their new artificial intelligence models which can power applications ranging from chatbots to image generators.

China’s Sandstorm Problem Spreads to South Korea and Japan - Bloomberg

Severe sandstorms that have been plaguing China for more than a month are now spreading to nearby regions, with dust particles affecting air quality from South Korea to Japan.
Fine dust particles from the Gobi Desert have been increasing in South Korea and could reach “very unhealthy” levels in Seoul as soon as Tuesday afternoon, according to AirKorea, which is managed by the nation’s environment ministry. The sandstorms are forecast to reach Japan on Wednesday, affecting visibility in the central region that includes Tokyo, according to a forecast from the Japan Meteorological Agency... It’s the latest in a series of severe dust storms to hit the nation’s capital since the beginning of March. Dry weather has amplified the impact, causing widespread fires torching grasslands in Mongolia and forests in China’s Sichuan province.

1/4 of east Japan city employees hit by COVID, affecting gov't services in busy season - The Mainichi

Roughly one quarter of employees at the Tsuru Municipal Government in Yamanashi Prefecture are absent from work due to COVID-19, affecting services in the beginning of the new fiscal year -- a busy season... According to an official in charge of crisis management at the municipal government's general affairs division, infections among city workers began to spread on April 3. About 60 of the 334 city employees, including non-regular workers for this fiscal year, were infected with the coronavirus as of April 6. As of noon on April 10, 82 had tested positive and five had come into close contact with COVID-19 patients, leaving a total of 87 employees absent from work.

Cambodia deports 19 suspects to Japan over alleged involvement in phone scams | The Japan Times

Cambodian authorities deported 19 Japanese suspects back to their home country Tuesday over their alleged involvement in phone scams, as Japanese police continue cracking down on crime groups based in Southeast Asian countries.
The men, who had been using a resort hotel in southern Cambodia as their base, were arrested aboard a chartered flight to Japan, according to Tokyo police... The men were arrested for allegedly defrauding a woman in her 60s, living in Tokyo, of ¥250,000 ($1,870) worth of BitCash electronic money in January.

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News Headlines - 10 April 2023

Ishin gains in unified local elections across Japan | NHK WORLD

Voters across Japan have cast their ballots in the first round of unified local elections. A regional party based in the western prefecture of Osaka and its affiliated national party have expanded their showing... The incumbent, Governor of Osaka Prefecture Yoshimura Hirofumi won his second term. He is the leader of the regional political party Osaka Ishin no Kai and the co-head of the Nippon Ishin Japan Innovation Party, the second-largest opposition force in the National Diet.
Osaka Ishin no Kai also won in the mayoral race of Osaka City. It also secured a majority in both the Osaka prefectural and city assemblies for the first time ever.
Yamashita Makoto, endorsed by the Japan Innovation Party, took the governorship of Nara Prefecture. He is the first Ishin candidate to win a governorship outside Osaka.

Dalai Lama apologises for asking boy to suck his tongue - CNA

The Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama apologised on Monday (Apr 10) after a video which showed him asking a boy to suck his tongue triggered a backlash on social media.
The video, which has gone viral, shows the Dalai Lama, 87, planting a kiss on the boy's lips as he leaned in to pay his respects.
The Buddhist monk is then seen sticking his tongue out as he asked the child to suck it. "Can you suck my tongue," he is heard asking the young boy in the video.

Pollution choking Thailand's north hits tourism, worries public | Reuters

High pollution levels in Thailand's northern city of Chiang Mai and surrounding provinces are keeping tourists away and alarming locals, with the government on Monday urging residents to avoid outdoor activities... Chiang Mai, known for its scenic mountainous views, temples and chic cafés, received 10.8 million visitors in pre-pandemic 2019, but hotel bookings in the city have dropped to 45% occupancy, the Thai Hotel Association Northern Chapter president Phunut Thanalaopanich told Reuters on Monday. That is far short of the 80% to 90% expected ahead of this week's Thai New Year holidays, known as Songkran.

Biden tells Al Roker: ‘I plan on running’

President Joe Biden told “TODAY” show co-host Al Roker on Monday that he plans to run for a second term.
“I plan on running, Al, but we’re not prepared to announce it yet,” he said.
Biden, 80, has consistently stated his plans to run for re-election.

Shorter procession and one-way trip in Gold State Coach for King’s coronation | Ealing Times

Charles and the Queen Consort will travel in a shorter procession route than the late Elizabeth II and break with tradition by only using the elaborate 260-year-old Gold State Coach one way – on their return.
The monarch and Camilla have personally decided to make the 1.3 mile outward journey – known as the King’s Procession – from Buckingham Palace in the more modern, comfortable Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which has shock absorbers, heating and air conditioning.

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News Headlines - 09 April 2023

Leaked Documents Show Seoul Torn Between U.S. Demands and Its Own Policy - The New York Times

When reports emerged late last year that South Korea had agreed to sell artillery shells to help the United States replenish its stockpiles, it insisted that their “end user” should be the U.S. military. But internally, top aides to President Yoon Suk Yeol were worried that their American ally would divert them to Ukraine.
Mr. Yoon’s secretary for foreign affairs, Yi Mun-hui, told his boss, National Security Adviser Kim Sung-han, that the government “was mired in concerns that the U.S. would not be the end user if South Korea were to comply with a U.S. request for ammunition,” according to a batch of secret Pentagon documents leaked through social media.
The secret report was based on signals intelligence, which meant that the United States has been spying on one of its major allies in Asia.

Kanagawa Gov. Yuji Kuroiwa Wins Reelection, Apologizes Over Recently Disclosed Affair - The Japan News

Kanagawa Gov. Yuji Kuroiwa, 68, was reelected in Sunday’s gubernatorial race, defeating three newcomers to win his fourth term... in the final stage of the campaign period, the weekly Bunshun magazine reported that Kuroiwa had an affair with a woman he met while he was working as an anchor at a commercial TV broadcaster. The affair lasted for 11 years, until shortly after he became governor in 2011.
Kuroiwa said he has not engaged in any inappropriate relationships since then. He admitted the truth at a press conference Thursday, apologized and canceled part of his campaign activities.

Woman Stabbed to Death, Man Hit by Train at Station in Nagoya - The Japan News

An 18-year-old woman was found stabbed in the chest by a knife-like object at a station in Nagoya on Saturday night. The woman, a company worker living in the city, was later confirmed dead at the hospital. At about the same time, a man was hit and killed by a train passing the station. The police are investigating the identity of the man and the relationship between the two individuals.

South African murderer and rapist Thabo Bester arrested in Tanzania | The Chronicle

Dar es Salaam -- A South African fugitive who faked his own death in a prison break that embarrassed authorities has been arrested in Tanzania, police has confirmed.
Thabo Bester, a convicted rapist, escaped from a privately-run prison in Bloemfontein in May last year -- but South African police only found out last month... He was initially presumed dead in prison but was later believed to be alive, and now he has been arrested in Tanzania.

Saudi Arabia frees 13 Houthis as Oman tries to broker new truce | Al Jazeera

Saudi Arabia has freed more than a dozen Houthi detainees ahead of a wider prisoner release agreed upon by the warring sides, according to a spokesman for the Yemeni rebel group.
The release on Saturday came as Omani officials arrived in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, as part of international efforts to end Yemen’s years-long conflict.

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News Headlines - 08 April 2023

Hama-Sushi Admits Use of Food past Use-By Dates - JIJI PRESS

A restaurant run by conveyor-belt sushi chain Hama-Sushi Co. had used ingredients that were past their in-house use-by dates and should have been discarded under internal rules, the operator has said.
In-house use-by dates are set shorter than expiration dates, and no health problems have been reported among people who dined at the restaurant in the city of Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, the Zensho Holdings Co. unit said Friday.

WHO chief urges China to share information on COVID origins | Al Jazeera

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has pressed China to share its information about the origins of COVID-19, saying until that happened all scenarios remained on the table.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday the global health body had asked China to cooperate with it to help trace the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

Saudi officials arrive in Iran to discuss reopening diplomatic missions | The Guardian

A Saudi delegation arrived in Tehran on Saturday to discuss reopening diplomatic missions with Iran after seven years.
The visit comes two days after the unprecedented meeting between Iran and Saudi Arabia’s heads of diplomacy in China after the two countries agreed to restore diplomatic ties last month.
The minister called the visit part of “implementing the tripartite agreement” reached on 10 March between the two regional powers, brokered by China, to restore ties ruptured in 2016, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

NASA’s Webb Scores Another Ringed World With New Image of Uranus | NASA

Following in the footsteps of the Neptune image released in 2022, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has taken a stunning image of the solar system’s other ice giant, the planet Uranus. The new image features dramatic rings as well as bright features in the planet’s atmosphere. The Webb data demonstrates the observatory’s unprecedented sensitivity for the faintest dusty rings, which have only ever been imaged by two other facilities: the Voyager 2 spacecraft as it flew past the planet in 1986, and the Keck Observatory with advanced adaptive optics.

Japan Real Wages Fall 2.6 Pct in Feb. - JIJI PRESS

Japan's inflation-adjusted real wage index in February fell 2.6 pct from a year before, down for the 11th straight month, government data showed Friday.
The pace of drop slowed from 4.1 pct in January, with the rate of price increases also narrowing due in part to the government's measures to curb rises in electricity and city gas fees.
The consumer price index excluding imputed rent, used to calculate the real wage index, grew 3.9 pct in February, following a 5.1 pct rise in the previous month.

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News Headlines - 07 April 2023

US opposes offering Ukraine a road map to Nato membership | Financial Times

The US is pushing back against efforts by some European allies to offer Ukraine a “road map” to Nato membership at the alliance’s July summit, exposing divides in the west over Kyiv’s postwar status.
The US, Germany and Hungary are resisting efforts from countries such as Poland and the Baltic states to offer Kyiv deeper ties with Nato and clear statements of support for its future membership, four officials involved in the talks told the Financial Times.
The divisions were made clear at a meeting of Nato foreign ministers in Brussels this week, with member state officials set to spend the next two months locked in negotiations ahead of a leaders’ summit in Vilnius in July.

Clarence Thomas Secretly Accepted Luxury Trips From GOP Donor - ProPublica

IN LATE JUNE 2019, right after the U.S. Supreme Court released its final opinion of the term, Justice Clarence Thomas boarded a large private jet headed to Indonesia... If Thomas had chartered the plane and the 162-foot yacht himself, the total cost of the trip could have exceeded $500,000. Fortunately for him, that wasn’t necessary: He was on vacation with real estate magnate and Republican megadonor Harlan Crow, who owned the jet — and the yacht, too.
For more than two decades, Thomas has accepted luxury trips virtually every year from the Dallas businessman without disclosing them, documents and interviews show.

Japan nuclear watchdog halts Tsuruga reactor safety assessment again | The Japan Times

Nuclear regulators said Wednesday they will again halt a safety assessment of an offline central Japan reactor after its operator repeatedly submitted documents containing errors, further prolonging a process toward resumption that has already taken years.
Japan Atomic Power has been seeking approval to reboot the No. 2 unit at the Tsuruga plant in Fukui Prefecture under stricter regulations imposed following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, but its application has been fraught with mistakes and data tampering.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority considered forcing the operator to withdraw its safety review application, but it ended up deciding on another suspension, citing how restarting the process all over again would only burden the regulator.

Toyota CEO Koji Sato Teases EV Strategy With 10 New Models by 2026 - Bloomberg

The Japanese automaker, often describing itself as a mobility company whose wish is to change the future of cars, on Friday said it will release 10 new EV models by 2026 and sell 1.5 million battery electric vehicles annually while “strengthening hybrids and plug-in hybrids” in order to honor its pledge to halve emissions by 2035 and become carbon neutral by 2050.

Waseda Univ., Ex-Professor Ordered to Pay Damages for Sexual Harassment - The Japan News

The Tokyo District Court has ordered Waseda University and Naomi Watanabe, a literary critic and former professor at the university, to pay ¥550,000 in damages to a former graduate school student for sexual harassment.

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News Headlines - 06 April 2023

Japan SDF chopper with 10 members aboard goes missing near Okinawa - The Mainichi

A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force helicopter with 10 personnel aboard went missing in waters off the southern prefecture of Okinawa on Thursday, with what could be parts of the chopper later found in the sea.
The UH-60JA multipurpose helicopter is believed to have been caught up in an accident, Gen. Yasunori Morishita, chief of staff of the GSDF, told a press conference, as rescue efforts continued for the pilots, mechanics and other members of the Self-Defense Forces.

Excess deaths doubled in Japan in 2022 - COVID-19 may be to blame | The Japan Times

Japan had excess deaths of up to 113,000 in 2022, more than double the figure of up to 50,000 the year before, according to newly released health ministry statistics, indicating the possibility that COVID-19 directly and indirectly contributed to an increase in the country's mortality rate.
According to estimates compiled by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, the number of excess deaths — defined as the difference between the observed numbers of deaths in a certain period and expected numbers of deaths in the same period — was between 47,330 and 113,399 in 2022, compared with 11,475 to 50,495 in 2021.

Ex-Brazilian President Bolsonaro questioned by police over Saudi jewelry gifts | NHK WORLD

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been questioned by police on suspicion of attempting to appropriate gifts of jewelry worth over 3 million dollars that he received from Saudi Arabia while he was in office... Local media outlets and other sources say a delegation representing Bolsonaro accepted a necklace and other items as gifts for the president and his wife when it met with Saudi government officials in October 2021. The gifts are valued at 16.5 million reals, or about 3.3 million dollars.

Ukraine War Plans Leak Prompts Pentagon Investigation - The New York Times

Classified war documents detailing secret American and NATO plans for building up the Ukrainian military ahead of a planned offensive against Russian troops were posted this week on social media channels, senior Biden administration officials said.
The Pentagon is investigating who may have been behind the leak of the documents, which appeared on Twitter and on Telegram, a platform with more than half a billion users that is widely available in Russia... But the disclosures in the original documents, which appear as photographs of charts of anticipated weapons deliveries, troop and battalion strengths, and other plans, represent a significant breach of American intelligence in the effort to aid Ukraine.

Japanese animal lover Masanori Hata, popularly known as 'Mutsugoro,' dies at age 87 - The Mainichi

Novelist and essayist Masanori Hata, popularly known as "Mutsugoro" (goggle-eyed goby) and a regular on TV animal shows, passed away at a hospital in Nakashibetsu, Hokkaido, on April 5. He was 87... Hata's TV animal show "Mutsugoro and his wonderful friends" made its broadcast debut on the Fuji Television Network in 1980, and became a long-running audience favorite.

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News Headlines - 05 April 2023

Twitter labels NPR's account as 'state-affiliated media,' which is untrue : NPR

Twitter added a "state-affiliated media" tag to NPR's main account on Tuesday, applying the same label to the nonprofit media company that Twitter uses to designate official state mouthpieces and propaganda outlets in countries such as Russia and China... NPR officials have asked Twitter to remove the label... In response to an NPR email for this story seeking comment and requesting details about what in particular might have led to the new designation, the company's press account auto-replied with a poop emoji — a message it has been sending to journalists for weeks.

Ex-Top Bureaucrat Admits to Personnel Meddling at Company - The Japan News

Former Japanese vice transport minister Masaru Honda has admitted to pressuring Airport Facilities Co. to promote a former ministry official to president, the ministry said Tuesday.
Honda, 69, currently chairman of subway operator Tokyo Metro Co., has been found to have pressed Airport Facilities, 63, to promote then Executive Vice President Katsuhiro Yamaguchi, the former ministry official, to president of the airport infrastructure management company.
On Tuesday, the ministry released the results of its hearing from Honda conducted the day before. At the hearing, Honda admitted to intervening in the leadership selection and apologized.

'My Number' ID applications hit 96.14 million, 76% of Japan's population by end of FY2022 - The Mainichi

As of the end of fiscal 2022, a total of some 96.14 million people, or 76.3% of Japan's population, had applied for "My Number" multipurpose ID cards, the communications minister said April 4.
The Japanese government has declared it would seek to get the My Number ID card issued to "almost all citizens" within fiscal 2022, which ended on March 31.

Illness-healing statue stolen from Nagano temple recovered | The Asahi Shimbun

A man was arrested on suspicion of stealing a sacred statue at the Zenkoji temple here, which has been revered for more than 300 years and earned a three-star recommendation from the Michelin Guide.
A thief was caught on a security camera taking the wooden seated statue of Binzuru, a disciple of Buddha, in a bag on the morning of April 5, a source said.

China Plans to Ban Exports of Rare Earth Magnet Tech - The Japan News

China is considering banning the export of technologies used to produce high-performance rare earth magnets deployed in electric vehicles, wind turbine motors and other products, citing “national security” as a reason, it has been learned... Beijing is currently in the process of revising its Catalogue of Technologies Prohibited and Restricted from Export — a list of manufacturing and other industrial technologies subject to export controls — and released a draft of the revised catalog for public comment in December.

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News Headlines - 04 April 2023

JR East Aims to Open New Haneda Airport Line in FY 2031 - JIJI PRESS

East Japan Railway Co., or JR East, said Tuesday that it now aims to open a new train line connecting JR Tokyo Station and the Japanese capital's Haneda Airport in fiscal 2031, two years later than the initially planned fiscal 2029.
The new line will allow passengers to travel between the station and the airport without changing trains in around 18 minutes, compared with about 30 minutes on existing lines.

Two arrested over video of unhygienic acts at Osaka restaurant | The Japan Times

Two men have been arrested for allegedly harming the business of Japanese beef bowl chain Yoshinoya with a video of one of them eating directly from a container of toppings meant for all customers, Osaka police said Tuesday.

L’Oreal to Buy Skincare Brand Aesop in $2.5 Billion Deal - Bloomberg

French skincare giant L’Oréal SA has agreed to acquire luxury cosmetics brand Aesop, which was founded in Melbourne before developing a cult global following, for an enterprise value of $2.53 billion.
The transaction caps months of negotiations as other companies, including private equity firm Permira and Chinese investment firm Primavera Capital also showed interest in the Australian brand, owned by Brazil’s Natura & Co., people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg last month.

NTT network failures may be 'serious accidents' under law, says ministry | NHK WORLD

Japan's communications ministry says it will look into system failures by the regional arms of telecom giant NTT as possible "serious accidents" under the law.
NTT East and NTT West reported disruptions to Internet and IP phone services in 16 prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka, on Monday morning.
Up to 446,000 lines were affected. Users had difficulties making calls, including those for emergencies to police and fire departments. The outages lasted about three hours for NTT East and about 90 minutes for NTT West.

Netherlands train crash: one dead and dozens injured after carriages derail | The Guardian

A train in the Netherlands rammed into a maintenance crane on the tracks before it derailed and ploughed into a field, killing the crane operator and injuring dozens of passengers.
The maintenance work was planned and standard, but “we have no idea how the crane got on the track which was still open for traffic”, John Voppen, the chief executive of the railway infrastructure company ProRail, said at a news briefing on Tuesday.

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News Headlines - 03 April 2023

NASA introduces 1st moon crew in 50 years, includes woman, Black astronaut - CBS Miami

NASA has named the four astronauts who will fly around the moon late next year, including the first woman and the first African American assigned to a lunar mission.
The first moon crew in 50 years - three Americans and one Canadian - was introduced during a ceremony in Houston, home to the nation's astronauts as well as Mission Control.

Chinese spy balloon gathered intelligence from sensitive U.S. military sites, despite U.S. efforts to block it

The Chinese spy balloon that flew across the U.S. was able to gather intelligence from several sensitive American military sites, despite the Biden administration’s efforts to block it from doing so, according to two current senior U.S. officials and one former senior administration official... The intelligence China collected was mostly from electronic signals, which can be picked up from weapons systems or include communications from base personnel, rather than images, the officials said.

Malaysian Parliament moves to end mandatory death penalty | Al Jazeera

he Dewan Rakyat, or lower house, of Malaysia’s Parliament on Monday approved legal reforms to abolish the mandatory death penalty for some offences.
The Dewan Negara, or upper house, will now take up the legislation, and if it passes there, it will be sent to the king to be signed into law. It is widely expected to be passed by the upper house.
The amendments would apply to 34 offences currently punishable by death, including murder and drug trafficking. Eleven of them carry it as a mandatory punishment.

BOJ Buys Record 135 T. Yen in JGBs in FY 2022 - JIJI PRESS

The Bank of Japan bought a record 135,989 billion yen in Japanese government bonds in fiscal 2022, exceeding the previous high of 115,800.1 billion yen marked in fiscal 2016, the BOJ said Monday.
To counter growing upward pressure on JGB yields, the BOJ actively bought 10-year and other JGBs in the year that ended Friday.
The central bank's JGB buying in fiscal 2022 expanded about 63 trillion yen from fiscal 2021 and about 1.5-fold from the 88,025.6 billion yen in fiscal 2013, when outgoing BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda took office and embarked on a massive monetary easing policy.

Award-winning Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, member of YMO, dies

World-renowned Japanese musician and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, also the keyboardist of the legendary electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra, known as YMO, has died, his office said Sunday. He was 71.
Sakamoto revealed in June 2022 that he had been battling stage IV cancer. The Tokyo native also starred in the 1983 war film "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence," and won an Oscar and Grammy for scoring the 1987 movie "The Last Emperor."
A funeral for Sakamoto, who died last Tuesday, was already held with only close relatives in attendance, the office said.

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News Headlines - 02 April 2023

1.46 Million Working-age People Socially Isolated - The Japan News

An estimated 1.46 million working-age people in Japan are living as “hikikomori” social recluses, a survey by the Cabinet Office showed Friday... The estimate was based on a survey conducted in November last year on 30,000 people aged between 10 and 69 across the country.The survey found that 2.05% of people aged 15 to 39 go out only for their hobbies, leave their rooms but stay within their homes or rarely leave their rooms for at least six months. The share stood at 2.02% for people aged 40 to 64.

Opec+ announces surprise cuts in oil production | The Guardian

Saudi Arabia and other Opec+ members have announced voluntary cuts to their oil production of about 1.15m barrels a day in a surprise move they said was aimed at supporting market stability... Last October, Opec+, which comprises the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and allied producers led by Russia, agreed output cuts of 2m bpd from November until the end of the year, angering Washington as tighter supply boosts oil prices... Sunday’s unexpected voluntary cuts, which start from May, come on top of those already agreed in October.

Italian government seeks to penalize the use of English words | CNN

Italians who use English and other foreign words in official communications could face fines of up to €100,000 ($108,705) under new legislation introduced by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party.
Fabio Rampelli, a member of the lower chamber of deputies, introduced the legislation, which is supported by the prime minister.

Swiss prosecutor opens probe into Credit Suisse takeover | Financial Times

Switzerland’s federal prosecutor has opened an investigation into the state-backed takeover of Credit Suisse by its larger rival UBS.
The Bern-based prosecutor is looking into potential breaches of Swiss criminal law by government officials, regulators and executives at the two banks, which agreed an emergency merger last month over the course of a frantic weekend in order to avert a potentially catastrophic financial crisis.
A focus of the probe concerns sensitive information from the negotiations that was leaked to the press, said a person familiar with the investigation, which could constitute a breach of state secrecy or industrial espionage laws.

War has killed 262 Ukrainian athletes, sports minister says | Reuters

Russia's war against Ukraine has claimed the lives of 262 Ukrainian athletes and destroyed 363 sports facilities, the country's sports minister, Vadym Huttsait, said on Saturday.
Meeting the visiting president of the International Federation of Gymnastics, Morinari Watanabe, Huttsait said no athletes from Russia should be allowed at the Olympics or other sports competitions.

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News Headlines - 01 April 2023

Coca-Cola makes cocaine in this secret New Jersey factory | Daily Mail Online

The unassuming facility in Maywood has been processing coca leaves for Coca-Cola for over 100 years and is now run by a chemical manufacturer called Stepan Company.
It operates under special licenses issued to it by the DEA and is the only company in the US permitted to import coca leaves and manufacture cocaine.
And just this year, on January 30, Stepan successfully renewed its petition for permission to continue importing the controlled substance into the US.

China tests first high-temp superconducting electric levitation system - CGTN

China successfully tested its first high-temperature superconducting electric levitation system in the northeastern city of Changchun on Friday, marking a technological breakthrough for the country in the domain.
The operation fully verified core technologies including superconducting magnets, linear synchronous traction, induction power supply and low-temperature refrigeration, laying a solid foundation for promoting the superconducting electric maglev transportation system, China Media Group reported.

Imperial Household Agency Launches Public Relations Office - The Japan News

The Imperial Household Agency on Saturday launched a new public relations office, part of its efforts to keep the public better informed about the Imperial family.
The new office will employ a person from the private sector with extensive experience in public relations and explore ways of communicating information that brings the Imperial Household closer to the public.
The public relations office was established within the General Affairs Division and has nine staff members. A career bureaucrat in the National Police Agency was appointed as the first head of the office.

Japan Ends PHS Wireless Communications after 28 Years | JIJI PRESS

Japan terminated its last remaining personal handy phone system, or PHS, wireless communications service at the end of Friday, 28 years after the system's commercial debut.

Bicycle helmets are now 'mandatory' in Japan. Here's how people feel about that. | The Japan Times

Millions of cyclists zip around Japan for a range of daily needs. Work, carrying children and picking up groceries are just a few.
But while they go about their routines on two wheels, most don’t wear helmets.
That might change thanks to a revised section of the Road Traffic Act that makes wearing a helmet a duty-driven effort for people of all ages. In Japanese, the policy is called a matter of doryoku-gimu, which roughly translates to “duty of effort.”

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News Headlines - 18 February 2023

Jimmy Carter receiving hospice care, Carter Center says - CBS News

Former President Jimmy Carter is receiving hospice care at his home, the Carter Center announced Saturday. He made the decision after a series of short hospital stays, the center said in a statement.
The charity created by the 98-year-old former president said that Carter "decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention.".. In August 2015, Carter had a small cancerous mass removed from his liver. The following year, Carter announced that he needed no further treatment, as an experimental drug had eliminated any sign of cancer.

Japan PM apologizes to LGBTQ activists over ex-aide's remark

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with representatives of LGBTQ groups Friday and offered an apology over discriminatory remarks made by his former aide that sparked nationwide outrage and calls for the government to ensure equal rights.
Former Kishida aide Masayoshi Arai’s comments to reporters earlier this month that he wouldn’t want to live next to LGBTQ people and that citizens would flee Japan if same-sex marriages were allowed prompted renewed demands that the government adopt an anti-discrimination law.

Data on 400,000 Customers Improperly Browsed at Chubu Electric - JIJI PRESS

Chubu Electric Power Co. said Friday that its employees fraudulently browsed information on a total of 399,376 household and business customers of so-called power producers and suppliers, or PPS, managed by a subsidiary between April 2022 and Jan. 19 this year.
At Kansai Electric Power Co., similar improper access to customer information has been found to have taken place for 153,095 contracts over some three years until December 2022.

BBC India: Tax officials accuse organisation of irregularities - BBC News

Indian tax authorities say they have uncovered irregularities in the BBC's accounting books after searches at the broadcaster's offices in the country... The BBC says it will continue to co-operate. It will respond to any direct communication from tax officials.
The allegations come amid a row in India over a BBC documentary... The BBC's documentary, India: The Modi Question, was broadcast on television only in the UK, but the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has attempted to block people sharing it, describing it as "hostile propaganda and anti-India garbage" with a "colonial mindset".

Hugh Jackman: Inevitable that Australia will become a republic - BBC News

Australian actor Hugh Jackman says he thinks it is inevitable that Australia will become a republic in the future.
Speaking on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Jackman said a break with the UK's Royal Family would be "a natural part of evolution".
But the X Men star added that he held "no ill will" towards King Charles and wished the family "all the best".

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News Headlines - 17 February 2023

Japan’s first next-generation rocket aborts before launch | The Japan Times

Japan’s much-vaunted launch of its flagship rocket was a fizzer - a disappointing result as competition with Elon Musk’s SpaceX intensifies and the island nation looks to expand its defense prowess amid growing geopolitical tensions.
While weather conditions were good, the H3 rocket’s side booster failed to ignite, officials said Friday morning. Sparks flew from the craft as it prepared to take off, but within seconds they spluttered to a halt.

Japan YouTuber lawmaker faces apology demand, possible expulsion over continued absence - The Mainichi

An upper house disciplinary committee is likely to order YouTuber-turned-lawmaker GaaSyy to apologize in a plenary session in the Diet over his continued absence, and may expel him if he does not appear.
In a Feb. 16 board meeting of the House of Councillors Committee on Discipline, it was confirmed that a committee session to discuss the handling of GaaSyy's case will be held on Feb. 21, and that his punishment will be decided the same day. It has been deemed that he is likely to receive orders to apologize during a plenary session. If he does not attend the plenary session, the disciplinary committee is set to hold another meeting to hand down the heaviest punishment of expulsion... It is the first time that the disciplinary committee will be convened on the grounds of a Diet member's absence.

Fox Stars Privately Expressed Disbelief About Trump’s Election Fraud Claims - The New York Times

Newly disclosed messages and testimony from some of the biggest stars and most senior executives at Fox News revealed that they privately expressed disbelief about President Donald J. Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, even though the network continued to promote many of those lies on the air.
The hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, as well as others at the company, repeatedly insulted and mocked Trump advisers, including Sidney Powell and Rudolph W. Giuliani, in text messages with each other in the weeks after the election, according to a legal filing on Thursday by Dominion Voting Systems.

South Korea calls North Korea 'enemy' again in defense white paper | NHK WORLD 

A South Korean defense white paper has referred to North Korea and its military as the country's "enemy" for the first time in six years.
President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office last May, has been taking a tough stance against North Korea, which is accelerating its nuclear and missile development.

UN says Somaliland clashes have displaced over 185,000 people - The East African

Clashes have forced more than 185,000 people to flee their homes in a contested border town in Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland, the UN's emergency response agency said.
Somaliland, which has claimed independence from Somalia since 1991, but has never been recognised internationally, is often seen as a beacon of stability in a chaotic region.

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News Headlines - 16 February 2023

South Korean prosecutors seek to arrest opposition leader in graft probe | Reuters

South Korean prosecutors on Thursday requested an arrest warrant for the head of the main opposition Democratic Party, Lee Jae-myung, in an investigation into development projects and bribery allegations.
Lee, a former Democratic presidential candidate, is accused of being in breach of his duty over losses of 489.5 billion won ($382 million) run up by Seongnam Development Corporation during his time as mayor of Seongnam city, prosecutors said.
Lee is also accused of demanding that four companies provide 13.3 billion won to Seongnam FC while he was serving as the head of the football club in return for unlawful administrative favours in what prosecutors described as bribery.

Iran denies harboring de facto al-Qaeda leader - Al-Monitor: Independent, trusted coverage of the Middle East

Iran's permanent mission to the United Nations in New York on Wednesday rejected a report by the world body's experts that has said de facto al-Qaeda leader Saif al-Adl is currently based in Iran.
"It is worth noting that the address for the so-called newly appointed al-Qaeda leader is incorrect," the Iranian mission announced on Twitter.
Casting the UN report as "misinformation," the mission said on Twitter it could "potentially hinder efforts to combat terrorism."

German court rules search of refugee's phone was illegal – DW

When an Afghan woman* came to Germany and applied for asylum in 2019 without a valid passport, one of the first things officers at Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) did was comb through her phone to obtain information which they later used in her asylum application procedure.
On Thursday, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled that this was unlawful because the officers had not exhausted less intrusive means to confirm the refugee's identity first.

Ballet director sacked by Hanover opera house after smearing critic with dog... - Classic FM

Ballet director Marco Goecke has been sacked from the Hannover State Opera, after attacking a critic with dog excrement on Saturday. He later apologised for the incident and described his actions as “disgraceful”... Goecke, the ballet director and head choreographer at the Hannover State Opera, confronted Huester, who is dance critic for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), in the opera house’s crowded foyer during an interval, the publication reported... On Saturday, Goecke accused Huester of being responsible for people cancelling season tickets in Hannover. The director then produced a paper bag filled with animal faeces, and smeared the contents across the critic’s face, before swiftly escaping through the foyer.
Huester identified the contents as dog poo, and “screamed”, she recalls in an account of the incident.

Kishida pledges to boost child-rearing budget to 4% of GDP - Japan Today

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged Wednesday to boost Japan's budget for child-rearing to 4 percent of the country's gross domestic product to tackle the falling birthrate, but he did not elaborate on how to secure the costs.
During a parliamentary session, Kishida said Japan's expenditures for policies designed to support children and families reached 2 percent of GDP in the fiscal year ending March 2021, and the government is aiming to "double the amount."

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News Headlines - 12 January 2023

Japan reports a record 489 COVID-linked deaths on Thursday | NHK WORLD

Japan's health ministry says it confirmed 489 deaths linked to COVID-19 on Thursday -- the highest daily tally since the pandemic began.
The previous record of 463 deaths was marked last Saturday.

Police conduct searches over YouTube videos of ‘GaaSyy’ | The Asahi Shimbun

Police on Jan. 11 searched multiple locations in Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture related to Yoshikazu Higashitani, a lawmaker who is also a YouTuber named “GaaSyy.”
The Metropolitan Police Department suspects Higashitani, 51, threatened and defamed celebrities in videos posted on his YouTube channel... In a YouTube video posted on Jan. 12, Higashitani said he would return to Japan in early March, volunteer for questioning by police, and also go to the Diet.
Some of the locations searched on Jan. 11 were connected to a person who runs a company that manages ad revenue from Higashitani’s YouTube channel, according to investigative sources.

Japanese shogi player disqualified for not covering nose with mask - The Mainichi

A shogi player was disqualified from a match for not covering his nose with a mask on Jan. 10 during the 81st Meijin class C1 ranking tournament at the Kansai Shogi Hall in Osaka's Fukushima Ward.
This is the second recent case in Japan in which a shogi player has lost by disqualification for not wearing a mask properly.

Indonesia to Expand Raw Mineral Export Ban Despite WTO Dispute - News En.tempo.co

President Joko Widodo, in his speech at the 50th PDIP anniversary on Tuesday, for the umpteenth time, asserted the government’s intention to continue restricting raw mineral commodities exports. During his speech, Jokowi also mentioned the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute with the European Union (EU), which Indonesia lost.

Egypt foils plot to steal 10-tonne statue of Ramses II | Al Jazeera

Egyptian authorities have arrested three people for trying to steal a millennia-old 10-tonne statue of Pharaoh Ramses II.
The defendants were caught in a quarry south of the city of Aswan with manual digging equipment and a crane, Egypt’s Public Prosecution announced on Facebook on Tuesday... The Antiquities Authority in Aswan has proven the “antiquity [of the statue] and attributed it to Ramses II, with a weight of approximately 10 tonnes”, the statement added... Ramses II, one of the most famous pharaohs of the 19th dynasty, ruled for 67 years. He was known as a great warrior and prolific builder who ordered the construction of temples across Egypt.

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News Headlines - 11 January 2023

WHO urges travelers to wear masks as new COVID variant spreads | The Japan Times

Countries should consider recommending that passengers wear masks on long-haul flights, given the rapid spread of the latest omicron subvariant of COVID-19 in the United States, World Health Organization officials said on Tuesday.
In Europe, the XBB.1.5 subvariant was detected in small but growing numbers, WHO and Europe officials said at a news briefing.

Fast Retailing to raise employee salaries by up to 40% in Japan | The Asahi Shimbun

Fast Retailing Co., operator of the Uniqlo clothing stores, said Jan. 11 it will raise the annual salaries of regular employees in Japan by up to 40 percent from March... New hires will receive 300,000 yen ($2,300) in monthly pay from March, up from 255,000 yen, the company said.
Fast Retailing has around 8,400 regular employees in Japan.
A store manager will be paid 390,000 yen a month, up by 100,000 yen. An employee can be promoted to store manager a year or two after joining the company.

Psychiatric exam of ex-Japan PM Abe shooter ends, charges to follow

The psychiatric evaluation of a man accused of fatally shooting former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ended Tuesday, with prosecutors expected to indict him for murder and firearms control law violations before his detention period ends Friday.
After being arrested for the July 8 shooting in the western city of Nara, Tetsuya Yamagami had been under evaluation since July 25 to determine whether he was mentally fit to be held criminally responsible for his actions, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The Nara District Public Prosecutors Office previously requested the suspect's evaluation period be extended twice. The Nara District Court allowed it to continue until Jan. 10 after his defense filed an appeal on both occasions.

South Korean prosecutors question opposition leader in graft case - Nikkei Asia

South Korean prosecutors on Tuesday questioned the leader of the country's main opposition party on corruption suspicions in a move that has stoked political tensions.
Lee Jae-myung, who heads the Democratic Party, appeared before investigators and answered questions regarding graft allegations dating to his time as mayor of Seongnam, a city near Seoul... This is the first time a party leader has appeared before prosecutors for questioning, South Korean media report. Lee previously did not comply with a December summons from prosecutors.

U.S. attorney reviewing documents marked classified from Joe Biden's vice presidency found at Biden think tank - CBS News

The material was identified by personal attorneys for Mr. Biden on Nov. 2, just before the midterm elections, Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president confirmed. The documents were discovered when Mr. Biden's personal attorneys "were packing files housed in a locked closet to prepare to vacate office space at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C.," Sauber said in a statement to CBS News.

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News Headlines - 10 January 2023

China suspends visa issuance to Japanese, S. Korean travelers

China has suspended issuing visas to Japanese and South Korean travelers, its embassies in Tokyo and Seoul said Tuesday, after it threatened to take countermeasures against countries that introduced tighter COVID-19 entry restrictions on visitors from China.
The Chinese Embassy in Tokyo, on its website, said the issuance of ordinary visas for Japanese citizens was being suspended from Tuesday and the timing of its resumption will be notified later.

MSDF destroyer unable to navigate after apparently hitting rock | The Japan Times

A Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer was unable to navigate under its own power Tuesday, the Defense Ministry said, with media reports saying it may have hit a rock on the seabed off the coast of Yamaguchi Prefecture.
The ministry said the 4,550-ton JS Inazuma had dropped anchor after taking a large hit in waters off Yamaguchi Prefecture’s Suo-Oshima Island.

Most Coming-of-Age Day ceremonies stick with 20-year-olds - The Japan News

The legal age of adulthood was lowered to 18 last year, but on Monday, many local municipalities across the nation stuck to the tradition of marking Coming-of-Age Day for those turning 20 this year.
Some rebranded the event as “Hatachi no Tsudoi,” or a “gathering of 20-year-olds.”

Rishi Sunak revives talks with SoftBank on London listing for Arm | Financial Times

The UK prime minister met Arm chief executive Rene Haas last month in Downing Street, with Masayoshi Son, the founder of SoftBank, Arm’s Japanese owner, joining via video, according to two people familiar with the matter.
SoftBank has previously indicated that it wants to list Arm, the chip designer that it acquired in 2016 for $32bn, in New York. The renewed London lobbying effort, which includes executives from the London Stock Exchange, is focused on trying to share the listing with New York, according to people briefed on the discussions.

12 Dead As Protesters And Police Clash In Southern Peru | Barron's

At least 12 people have been left dead after protestors in Peru tried to storm an airport in the southern city of Juliaca. The clash is another violent outburst in Peru's ongoing, month-long, political crisis, as protestors demand the removal of President Dina Boluarte, who took power after her predecessor, Pedro Castillo, was ousted and arrested on December 7.

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News Headlines - 09 January 2023

Japan to cull record number of chickens due to bird flu - The Japan News

The number of chickens to be culled in Japan due to bird flu will hit a record high of about 9.98 million this season, according to a tally as of Monday.
The previous season high was some 9.87 million chickens culled in the period from autumn 2020 through spring 2021... About 930,000 chickens raised for eggs at the farm will all be culled, prefectural officials said.

6-year-old shoots teacher in Newport News, Virginia, police say | CNN

A 6-year-old boy was taken into police custody after he shot a teacher at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, Friday afternoon, Police Chief Steve Drew said in a news conference.
“The individual is a 6-year-old student,” Drew said... Drew said the female teacher was shot inside a classroom and added that “this was not an accidental shooting.”
The police chief said there was an altercation between the teacher and the student, who had the firearm, and that a single round was fired.

Brazil: Bolsonaro supporters break into Brazilian Congress and presidential palace | CNN

Footage Sunday showed massive crowds in Brasília walking up a ramp to the congressional building, where they had reached the Green Room, located outside the lower House of Congress’ chamber, Interim Senate President Veneziano Vital do Rogo told CNN Brasil.
Other outlets showed Bolsonaro suporters entering the Supreme Court and the presidential palace, where CNN Brasil showed the arrivals of anti-riot police and the Brazilian Armed Forces. The floor of the Congress building was flooded after the sprinkler system activated when protesters attempted to set fire to the carpet, according to CNN Brasil. Additional videos showed protesters inside the building taking gifts received from international delegations and destroying artwork.

Exiled Venezuela lawmakers chosen to lead anti-Maduro fight - The Washington Post

Venezuela’s opposition has selected an all-female team of mostly unknown exiled former lawmakers to replace the beleaguered Juan Guaidó as the face of its faltering efforts to remove socialist President Nicolas Maduro.
Last week, politicians who were elected to the National Assembly in 2015 voted to oust Guaidó from his role as “interim president,” a title he claimed as head of what was widely considered the South American nation’s last democratically elected institution.
On Thursday, those same former lawmakers chose Dinorah Figuera as his replacement. She’ll be joined by two other backbenchers — Marianela Fernández and Auristela Vásquez — in a triumvirate leadership of a legislature that operates as a symbolic shadow to Maduro’s rubber-stamping National Assembly, which convened Thursday in its neoclassical chambers.

Vietnam dismisses two ministers amid corruption probes

Vietnam dismissed two deputy prime ministers amid lengthy investigation driven by a campaign to clean up corruptionand protect the Communist Paty's legitimacy.
The National Assembly voted to dismiss Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam from office during a four-day special session that began on Thursday. Pham Binh Minh, who has held the position since late 2013, was also voted out.
The perliament did not provide reasons for the dismissals. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh earlier on Thursday asked the National Assembly to dismiss Minh and Dam ath the requests, VnExpress news website reported.

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News Headlines - 08 January 2023

Miyazaki Pref. Asked Paper Not to Report Some Governor Actions - JIJI PRESS

Miyazaki Governor Shunji Kono, who secured a fourth term in office on Dec. 25, felt fatigue after making New Year's trips to local shrines Sunday. He developed a fever and tested positive Monday.
The prefecture announced the governor's infection Monday. It told the local newspaper Miyazaki Nichinichi Shimbun on Sunday that the governor visited local shrines that day.
On Monday, the prefecture asked the paper to report that the governor spent the whole day Sunday at his official residence. In its Tuesday edition. the paper said that the governor paid visits to shrines.

China’s open borders mark end to 'zero-COVID,' sparking homecoming rush | The Japan Times

China’s long-awaited border reopening — the final step in its dismantling of “zero-COVID” — is set to spark a homecoming rush for many diaspora, though a full rebound in travel is likely to take longer.
Starting Sunday, China no longer requires quarantine for arrivals after authorities ditched the policy that, along with the exorbitant cost of airfares amid severe capacity constraints, was a major deterrent for travelers.

Afghanistan signs oil extraction deal with Chinese company | Al Jazeera

Afghanistan’s Taliban-led administration has signed a contract with a Chinese company to extract oil from the Amu Darya basin and develop an oil reserve in the country’s northern Sar-e Pul province.
The contract was signed on Thursday by acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum Sheikh Shahabuddin Delawar and an official of Xinjiang Central Asia Petroleum and Gas Co (CAPEIC) in a ceremony held in capital Kabul.
It was the first major public commodities extraction deal the Taliban administration has signed with a foreign company since taking power in 2021.

Two men hanged in Iran over the death of a paramilitary volunteer | Euronews

Two men have been hanged in Iran for allegedly killing a member of the military during nationwide protests.
Mohammad Mahdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini were found guilty of what Iranian authorities call "corruption on earth" over their alleged involvement in the death of a paramilitary officer.

One prisoner killed, more than 60 wounded in Myanmar prison riot | Al Arabiya English

A prisoner was killed and more than 60 wounded after a riot broke out at a Myanmar prison west of Yangon, the junta said on Saturday... The riot at the prison in Pathein started after guards confiscated a mobile phone from an inmate on Thursday night and took disciplinary action, the junta said in a statement... About 70 prisoners escaped from their cells and damaged property on Friday morning.

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News Headlines - 07 January 2023

Jetstar flight makes emergency landing in Japan due to bomb threat | Reuters

A Jetstar flight made an emergency landing at Chubu Centrair International Airport in central Japan on Saturday due to a bomb threat, though no device was found, officials said.
The runway at the airport was closed after the flight from Narita airport near Tokyo, bound for Fukuoka in southern Japan, landed at 7:41 a.m. (2241 GMT on Friday), but resumed operations at 12:15 p.m. after safety was confirmed, the spokesman said.

Japan Post to release stamps with QR codes to access music - The Japan News

Japan Post Co. plans to launch stamps with QR codes that can be scanned to access music on a popular music streaming service.
The stamps, which are the first of their kind in Japan, will be available to buy from Feb. 15, Japan Post announced on Friday.
The QR code is revealed when a seal on the stamp is peeled off. People that scan the code will be able to access 39 songs on the music streaming service Spotify, including hits from the 1960s selected by Japan Post.

Ecuador and China Conclude Free Trade Agreement Negotiations – The Diplomat

After four rounds of negotiations and dozens of technical meetings, the Chinese and Ecuadorian teams successfully closed negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries at the technical level.

China and Philippines agree to 'manage differences' on South China Sea | CNN

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and his Philippine counterpart Ferdinand Marcos Jr. have agreed to strengthen economic ties and resume talks on oil exploration, as they look to revive their economies amid the pandemic downturn and friction over contested areas of the South China Sea.
Xi met with Marcos Jr. on Wednesday during the Philippine President’s first state visit to Beijing, where the two leaders agreed to “appropriately manage differences,” according to a joint statement released Thursday.
The statement said the leaders had an “in-depth and candid” discussion about the situation in the South China Sea and “reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace and stability in the region.”

Myanmar’s junta pardons more than 7,000 prisoners — Radio Free Asia

Myanmar’s military rulers ordered the release of 7,012 inmates, including some political prisoners, in an Independence Day amnesty Wednesday... Wednesday marks the 75th anniversary of the end of British colonial rule and the junta held grand ceremonies to commemorate the event in Yangon, Mandalay and the capital Naypyidaw.

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News Headlines - 06 January 2023

Japan's Nov real wages fall most in 8 years, defying BOJ objective | Reuters

Japan reported on Friday its worst real-wage decline in more than eight years, with November data highlighting the elusiveness of the central bank's objective of reinforcing inflation and the economy with sustained rises in workers' pay.
The 3.8% annual fall in inflation-adjusted wages heightens the urgency of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's push for upcoming talks between labour and management to deliver wage hikes that outpace rises in living costs.

Japan's 10-year bond yield rises to hit BOJ upper limit as MOF raises coupon rate | Reuters

Japan’s 10-year government bond yield rose to hit the upper limit of the central bank’s policy band on Friday, after the finance ministry raised the coupon rate on the notes of the same maturity auctioned in the previous session.
The yield on 10-year JGBs rose to 0.500%, its highest since July 2015 and the top of the allowance band around the benchmark yield target, which was widened to 0.5% from 0.25% last month in the central bank’s surprise policy tweak.

Japan's daily COVID deaths hit record at 456 | NHK WORLD

Japan's health ministry says it confirmed 456 deaths from coronavirus infections on Friday, the highest single-day toll in the country since the pandemic began.
Nationwide, 245,542 new cases were confirmed on Friday.

Japan Eases COVID-19 Restrictions on Funeral - JIJI PRESS

Japan's health ministry revised its guidelines on conducting funerals and other events for people who died after contracting the novel coronavirus, in a move to ease COVID-19 restrictions.
The revised guidelines allow wakes and funerals for infected people to be held normally, saying there is no need to use body bags because the risk of infection from dead bodies "is extremely low when measures to prevent body fluid from leaking, such as plugging nostrils, are taken."... The revised guidelines allow attendees at wakes and funerals to touch the bodies of the deceased, only calling for disinfecting hands after touching.

Tokyo's JR Yamanote Line to partially suspend, reduce services on Jan. 7-8 - The Mainichi

The JR Yamanote Line's outer loop route from Osaki Station to Ikebukuro Station will be suspended all day on Jan. 7 and 8 due to track switching work at Shibuya Station.
The inner loop and other sections of the outer loop of the Yamanote Line, running around the center of Tokyo, will also reduce the number of services. Approximately 530,000 passengers are expected to be affected, and the East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) is calling for the use of alternate transportation or diverted routes.

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News Headlines - 04 January 2023

Tokyo eyes monthly 5,000-yen benefit for minors to battle low birth rate - The Mainichi

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government intends to provide benefits of around 5,000 yen (about $38.28) per month to those aged 18 and under as a measure to combat the declining birth rate, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said on Jan. 4.

Russia to block military threats coming from Japan – TASS

Moscow considers Tokyo's policy of abandoning peaceful development as a serious challenge to the security of Russia and the Asia-Pacific Region in general and warns that if this practice continues, it will be left with no choice other than to take adequate counter-measures in order to block military threats, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko told TASS in an interview.

New omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 detected in Korea - Asia News Network

Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5, which has spread rapidly within the United States, already arrived in Korea last month, authorities confirmed Monday, raising concerns over the spread of the strain believed to have resistance against updated vaccines... That XBB, a recombinant of the BA.2.10.1 and BA.2.75 sublineages, entered Korea in October last year was confirmed earlier, but XBB.1.5 cases had not been counted.
XBB.1.5 is a subvariant of XBB, which was derived from BA.2, known as “stealth omicron.” As one of the most recent omicron subvariants, XBB.1.5 has recently spread at an alarming rate in the US with its high ability to evade immunity.

Egypt recovers 2,700-year-old sarcophagus lid from US

Egypt announced Monday the recovery of a sarcophagus lid dating back nearly 2,700 years that it said had been smuggled out and put on display at a museum in the United States.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry announced the recovery of the artefact, known as the "Green Sarcophagus", during a televised press conference Monday... The lid, measuring nearly three metres (3.3 yards) in length and 90 centimetres (35.5 inches) in width, was among 17 artefacts recently recovered from the US, Tourism and Antiquities Minister Ahmed Issa said at the news conference.

Argentine artist paints on inflation-hit bank notes | Reuters

Argentina's cash has lost so much value in recent years that local artist Sergio Guillermo Diaz finds painting on even the most valuable banknotes has become affordable.
With annual inflation that likely neared 100% last year, the largest denomination of Argentine currency, the 1,000-peso bill, is worth around $5.60 officially or just $3 on parallel markets commonly used to skirt capital controls.

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News Headlines - 03 January 2023

Yen hits 7-month high in 129 zone vs dollar on BOJ speculation

The yen strengthened to the mid-129 zone against the U.S. dollar Tuesday, a level last seen in June, amid speculation that the Bank of Japan will further shift away from its ultraloose monetary policy.
The dollar slid to around 129.50 yen from the lower 131 yen range before fetching 130.10-11 yen at 5 p.m.

Bird flu cases rise to record high in Japan - The Mainichi

Bird flu cases in Japan hit a record high after new infections were confirmed in Chiba and Fukuoka prefectures, the farm ministry said Tuesday.
As of Tuesday, a total of 54 cases of avian flu were confirmed across 23 prefectures in Japan this season, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The previous record was registered two seasons ago, between November 2020 and March 2021, when 52 cases were confirmed in 18 prefectures, resulting in the culling of roughly 9.9 million chickens, an all-time high.

Biden says no nuclear drills with Seoul after Yoon’s comments | The Japan Times

U.S. President Joe Biden has said he isn’t currently discussing joint nuclear exercises with South Korea after that country’s president said his government wanted a more active role in managing atomic weapons on the Korean Peninsula.
Asked by a reporter at the White House after returning from vacation in St. Croix whether he is “discussing joint nuclear exercises with South Korea right now,” Biden answered: “No.”

Iran Vows Revenge on Soleimani Killers, Including Trump, 93 Other Americans

To mark the third anniversary of a seismic assassination, a number of Iranian officials have vowed revenge for the slaying of iconic military leader Qassem Soleimani at the hands of the United States on January 3, 2020, for which 94 citizens, including then-President Donald Trump, are being blamed.

Pelé funeral: Thousands bid farewell to the soccer legend | CNN

Soccer great Pelé was laid to rest on Tuesday after thousands lined the streets in the city of Santos to view his funeral procession.
The procession had started at the Urbano Caldeira Stadium, home of Pelé’s former club Santos, and his coffin was carried through the streets of Santos, including the street where Pelé’s 100-year-old mother, Celeste Arantes, lives.
It continued to the Memorial Necrópole Ecumênica cemetery, where a private funeral would be held for family members.

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News Headlines - 02 January 2023

Japan emperor greets New Year well-wishers, 1st in 3 yrs amid COVID - The Mainichi

Emperor Naruhito offered greetings Monday in his first New Year's address in three years following a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic... He was accompanied by his wife, Empress Masako, and other members of the imperial family. The couple's only daughter, Princess Aiko, who came of age in December 2021, joined the annual event for the first time.
A total of six greeting sessions took place during the day -- three in the morning and three in the afternoon. Of the roughly 9,600 people selected by lottery, 7,312 visited the palace.

Tokyo Games committee to be completely terminated in March - The Japan News

A liquidating corporation that has taken over the operations of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee is likely to complete its operations in March, leading to the complete termination of the committee, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
The committee was disbanded at the end of June last year... The complete dissolution of the committee before investigators uncover the full picture of the Games-linked corruption and bid-rigging scandals is likely to invite criticism.

Football: J-League to step up talks on switch to fall-spring season

The J-League will step up talks on switching to a fall-spring season to have it coincide with the European season, sources familiar with the matter said Saturday.
The J-League and the Japan Football Association will discuss the potential switch as the Asian Champions League is set to introduce its September start from the 2023 season.

Annual catch of Pacific saury at east Japan fishing port to hit 0 for first time on record - The Mainichi

This east Japan fishing port's catch of Pacific saury is expected to stand at zero for 2022, the city announced on Dec. 23.
This is the first time since 1950, when records began, that none of the fish -- a mainstay of the Japanese dinner table -- have been caught in an entire year, according to the Choshi Fisheries Cooperative Association.
The annual saury catch has been declining since it peaked at 61,333 metric tons in 2009, according to Choshi's fisheries department. Record lows were set in 2020, with 476 tons, and 2021, with just 18 tons.

North Korea’s Kim sacks No. 2 military official - The Japan News

North Korea has sacked Pak Jong Chon, the second most powerful military official after leader Kim Jong Un, state media reported.
Pak, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers’ Party and a secretary of the party’s Central Committee, was replaced by Ri Yong Gil at the committee’s annual meeting last week, the officialKCNA news agency said on Sunday.
No reason for the change was given.

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News Headlines - 01 January 2023

1.17 million 20-year-olds in Japan, fewest on record - The Japan News

The number of people born in 2002 who have turned 20 as of Jan. 1, 2023, was at a record low of 1.17 million, according to an estimate by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry. Of this number, there were 600,000 men and 570,000 women.
This was 60,000 people less than the estimate of 20-year-olds made at the same time last year.
As a percentage of Japan’s overall population of 124.77 million, 20-year-olds made up 0.93%, falling below 1% for the 13th consecutive year.

Kim orders an ‘exponential increase’ in N Korea’s nuclear arsenal | Al Jazeera

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for an “exponential” increase in the production of nuclear warheads and ordered the development of a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to counter the United States and South Korea.
Kim’s statement was released on state media on Sunday, hours after North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile off its east coast in a rare late-night New Year’s Day weapons test.

Taiwan's Tsai says war not an option, offers COVID help to Beijing - Nikkei Asia

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen kicked off 2023 with an olive branch to Beijing, offering assistance to China to tackle its COVID-19 crisis, while reiterating that cross-strait war is not an option.
In her annual address on Sunday, Tsai referred to China's surge in infections after it abolished its zero-COVID policy, saying: "We are willing to provide necessary assistance to help more people get out of the pandemic and have a healthy and safe new year."

Mexican border prison attack leaves 14 people dead, more than a dozen injured | Fox News

Gunmen in armored vehicles attacked a state prison just across the border from El Paso early Sunday, killing 10 guards and four inmates, prosecutors said.
Various armed vehicles arrived at the state prison in Ciudad Juarez at about 7 a.m. and opened fire at guards, the Chihuahua state prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
Amid the chaos, an additional 13 people were wounded and at least 24 inmates escaped.
Mexican soldiers and state police regained control of the prison later Sunday.

Brazil President Lula da Silva assumes office for the 3rd time : NPR

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was sworn in as Brazil's president on Sunday in the capital of Brasilia to assume office for the third time.
The leftist narrowly beat far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in an October runoff election, marking a stunning political comeback — just three years after da Silva was released from prison on corruption charges and 12 years after his first two terms as president.

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News Headlines - 31 December 2022

Iranian chess player ‘moving to Spain’ after competing without headscarf | The Guardian

One of Iran’s top-ranked female chess players is reportedly planning to settle in Spain after photographs emerged of her taking part in an international tournament without a headscarf.
Sara Khadem, ranked 804 in the world and 10th in her home country, was not planning to return to Iran after the tournament due to fear of reprisals, two sources told Spanish newspaper El País.
Instead, Khadem and her husband, the film director Ardeshir Ahmadi, and the couple’s young child will move to an unnamed Spanish city.

Laos parliament elects deputy PM Sonexay Siphandone as new premier - Nikkei Asia

The parliament of Laos on Friday voted to elect Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone as the new prime minister to succeed Phankham Viphavanh, who stepped down citing health concerns, according to local media.
After the election in the National Assembly in the capital Vientiane, Sonexay, one of the children of former President Khamtay Siphandone, thanked the assembly members and vowed to make utmost efforts to fulfil his new duties, the reports said.

South Korea unveils $440m plan to counter North’s drone invasions | Al Jazeera

South Korea will spend 560 billion won ($441m) on improving its defences against drones, the country’s defence ministry said on Wednesday, after a military scare from the North that set off jitters in Seoul.
On Monday, five North Korean drones entered the South’s airspace, prompting the military to scramble fighter jets and attack helicopters. But the South’s response failed to bring any of the drones down, prompting an angry statement from President Yoon Suk-yeol and an apology from the military. It was the first time a North Korean drone has entered South Korean airspace since the 2018 inter-Korean military pact.

Suspect in Abe slaying may face raft of additional firearms charges | The Asahi Shimbun

The suspect in the slaying of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may face at least five additional charges concerning suspected firearms violations after police decided to refer him to prosecutors for the offenses.
The possible charges against Tetsuya Yamagami, 42, that will be referred by Nara prefectural police to prosecutors include suspected breaches of both the Firearm and Sword Possession Control Law and the Weapons Manufacturing Law, according to sources... He is currently undergoing a psychiatric evaluation that will wind up Jan. 10 to assess his mental condition at the time of the incident.
If the Nara District Public Prosecutors Office concludes that Yamagami is competent to bear criminal liability based on the psychiatric evaluation, it is expected to formally indict him for Abe’s murder by Jan. 13, when his detention period ends.

Boxing: Ioka-Franco unification bout ends in draw

Japan's Kazuto Ioka and Joshua Franco of the United States fought to a draw in their world super flyweight boxing title unification match Saturday.
After 12 rounds of almost non-stop punching on New Year's Eve at Tokyo's Ota City General Gymnasium, two of the three judges scored the contest 114-114, while one favored World Boxing Association champion Franco 115-113.

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News Headlines - 30 December 2022

China Lets Hong Kong Rule on Overseas Lawyers in Security Cases - Bloomberg

Chinese lawmakers said Hong Kong courts should get approval from the city’s leader or an oversight committee before an overseas lawyer takes part in national security cases.
The Standing Committee of China’s legislature made the decision when it interpreted two articles of the city’s national security law, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Friday... This marks the first time that the National People’s Congress has amended the security law since Beijing imposed it on the former British colony more than two years ago. Lee requested the intervention in November, after the city’s highest court affirmed media mogul Jimmy Lai’s right to hire a UK-based lawyer to represent him in his upcoming foreign collusion trial.

China handed over North Korean defector to Japan in 2020: source

China handed over a North Korean defector to Japan in 2020 after she was found to be the grandchild of a Japanese woman who moved to North Korea decades earlier, a source close to the matter said Friday.
It is rare for Beijing to hand over a North Korean defector as Chinese authorities send most of the defectors they capture back to North Korea, according to the source.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry started supporting her after learning that she was the granddaughter of a Japanese woman who accompanied her ethnically Korean husband from Japan to North Korea.

South Korea's unannounced rocket launch causes UFO scare | AP News

South Korea’s military confirmed it test-fired a solid-fueled rocket Friday after its unannounced launch triggered brief public scare of a suspected UFO appearance or a North Korean missile launch.
The Defense Ministry said in a statement that the rocket launch was part of its efforts to build a space-based surveillance capability and bolster its defense posture.
It said it didn’t notify the general public of the launch in advance because it involved sensitive military security issues.

Myanmar's Suu Kyi sentenced to 7 years, bringing total to 33 - Nikkei Asia

Ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi was found guilty on the last remaining corruption charges against her on Friday and sentenced to seven years by a regional court set up by the military, a source close to the trial told Nikkei Asia, bringing her total prison term to 33 years... Myanmar's 77-year-old democracy icon had already been sentenced to a total of 26 years on 14 criminal charges, including for breaching the official secrets law, incitement against the military and violation of COVID-19 restrictions. The new verdict marked the final judgment in 19 criminal charges brought against her by the regime altogether.

Pelé, the Brazilian soccer legend, dies at 82 | CNN

Pelé, the Brazilian soccer legend who won three World Cups and became the sport’s first global icon, has died at the age of 82... For more than 60 years, the name Pelé has been synonymous with soccer. He played in four World Cups and is the only player in history to win three, but his legacy stretched far beyond his trophy haul and remarkable goal-scoring record.

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News Headlines - 15 December 2022

5 banks to lend 1.2 tril. yen to help Japanese fund buy out Toshiba

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and four other Japanese banks plan to lend a total of roughly 1.2 trillion yen ($8.87 billion) to a domestic investment fund to help it buy out Toshiba Corp., a source familiar with the matter said Thursday.
Japan Industrial Partners Inc. has already secured an investment offer worth about 1 trillion yen from a group of more than 10 Japanese companies, including Orix Corp. The acquisition of the embattled conglomerate is expected to total between 2.2 trillion yen and 2.5 trillion yen.

Five SDF members dishonorably discharged for sexually harassing colleague | The Japan Times

Five male members of the Ground Self-Defense Force were given a dishonorable discharge Thursday for sexually harassing a former female colleague from the fall of 2020 through August last year.
In addition to the discharge of the five men — two in their 20s, two in their 30s and one in his 40s — the Defense Ministry also gave a six-month suspension to the commander of the unit to which Rina Gonoi, 23, belonged, for failing to take adequate action after receiving a complaint from her.
A second lieutenant was given a reprimand for making sexually explicit comments, while another two higher-ranking officers were given warnings for violating their duties of command and supervision.

Princess Bajrakitiyabha Narendiradebyavati in hospital with heart problem

Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Narendiradebyavati was admitted to King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital after passing out because of a heart problem, the Royal Household Bureau announced on Thursday.
The bureau said the princess passed out while she was training her pet dogs in Pak Chong district of Nakhon Ratchasima at 6.20pm on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka expects up to $8 bln more in loans, asset restructuring | Reuters

Sri Lanka is expecting as much as $5 billion in loans next year from multilateral agencies besides an IMF deal, while the government is aiming to raise up to $3 billion via restructuring of state assets, its foreign minister told Reuters on Wednesday... In September, the country of 22 million reached an agreement with the IMF for a loan of $2.9 billion, which could be approved for disbursal next year.
"Apart from what we get from the IMF, we are looking at all others, the multilaterals put together another $4-$5 billion ...," Ali Sabry said in an interview.

WHO chief says uncle was ‘murdered’ by Eritrean troops in Tigray | Al Jazeera

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said his uncle was “murdered” by Eritrean troops in Ethiopia’s war-torn northern Tigray region.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the comment at the tail end of a news conference about COVID-19 in Geneva on Wednesday. He revealed that he had been on the verge of cancelling the event because he was “not in good shape” and it was “a difficult moment” for him.
The WHO director general is a former Ethiopian minister who comes from Tigray.

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News Headlines - 26 November 2022

Tokyo consumer prices rise 3.6% in Nov., biggest gain in 4 decades - The Mainichi

Consumer prices in Tokyo gained 3.6 percent in November from a year earlier, marking the steepest increase since 1982 amid higher energy and food prices that are increasingly squeezing household budgets, government data showed Friday.

LDP branch led by reconstruction minister Kenya Akiba paid fees to Unification Church | The Japan Times

A Liberal Democratic Party branch led by embattled reconstruction minister Kenya Akiba has been found to have paid ¥24,000 to a group linked to the religious organization known as the Unification Church.
A Miyagi prefectural branch of the ruling LDP led by Akiba paid the money as membership fees in July last year to the prefectural chapter of a group related to the controversial organization, according to a political funds report released by the prefecture's election board.
When taking office as reconstruction minister in August, Akiba flatly denied that he had made any payments to or received support for election campaigning from organizations related to the Unification Church, which is formally called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.

Tokyo recognizes Uber Eats workers' collective bargaining right | The Japan Times

Tokyo labor authorities have recognized Uber Eats delivery staff in Japan as workers under labor union law, ordering the service operator to hold collective negotiations with a union.
The move by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Labor Relations Commission on Friday marked the first official judgment recognizing the right of so-called gig workers engaged in temporary jobs, who have increased in number during the coronavirus pandemic.

Taiwan's Tsai quits as party leader after heavy local election losses - Nikkei Asia

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen resigned as leader of her ruling party after the opposition Kuomintang retook its traditional strongholds in local elections held on Saturday.
She will remain Taiwan's president until her second term expires in early 2024. It has been a poor election night for her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which was facing a difficult electoral cycle as the party's term-limited incumbents stepped down. Premier Su Tseng-chang also offered to resign but was retained by Tsai.

China’s former football head coach Li Tie under investigation for ‘serious violations of the law’ | South China Morning Post

A Chinese anti-corruption watchdog has launched an investigation into former national men’s soccer coach and ex-Premier League player, Li Tie.
The probe comes as the Fifa World Cup games are under way in Qatar, with the Chinese national team having failed to qualify for the fifth time.
A statement posted on the website of a provincial anti-corruption body in central China on Saturday said Li was under investigation for “serious violations of the law”, but did not specify his alleged offences.

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News Headlines - 25 November 2022

Ad giant Dentsu raided over alleged Tokyo Olympic bid rigging

Japanese prosecutors on Friday searched offices of ad giant Dentsu Inc. and an event company, and the home of a former Tokyo Olympic organizing committee senior official on suspicion of involvement in bid rigging for contracts related to test events ahead of last year's games.
The searches, joined by Japan's fair trade watchdog, followed a widening sponsorship bribery scandal over the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, also involving a former executive of the now-defunct committee that resulted in the raid of Dentsu's headquarters in July.
Photo taken on Nov. 25, 2022, shows the building housing the headquarters of Dentsu Inc. in Tokyo. (Kyodo)
The Tokyo prosecutors' special investigation squad and the watchdog suspect that members of the committee, including some from Dentsu and the event production firm Cerespo Co., conspired with companies to arrange successful bidders for more than 50 test events, said sources with knowledge of the probe.

Court dismisses widow’s claim in suicide over data falsification | The Asahi Shimbun

The Osaka District Court on Nov. 25 dismissed a compensation claim filed by the widow of a Finance Ministry employee who killed himself in 2018 after being ordered to falsify official documents.
Masako Akagi, 51, the widow of Toshio Akagi, an official of the Finance Ministry's Kinki Local Finance Bureau, had sought 16.5 million yen ($119,000) from Nobuhisa Sagawa, the former chief of the ministry's Finance Bureau in charge of managing state assets... Akagi demanded that Sagawa and other bureau officials “tell the facts as they really are” about why Toshio was forced to falsify documents and why he committed suicide.
But the court decided not to conduct questioning and dismissed her claim.

China’s daily COVID tally tops 30,000 for first time as curbs spread | The Japan Times

China’s daily COVID-19 infections broke through 30,000 for the first time ever as officials struggle to contain outbreaks that have triggered a growing number of restrictions across the country’s most important cities.
There were 31,987 new infections reported for Thursday, up from Wednesday’s record of 29,754. The southern city of Guangzhou reported more than 7,500, while cases in the metropolis of Chongqing topped 6,000. Beijing saw daily infections exceed 1,800 with the record tally and lockdown-like restrictions sparking panic buying in parts of the capital.

Hong Kong court convicts Cardinal Zen, 5 others over fund | The Asahi Shimbun

A 90-year-old Catholic cardinal and five others in Hong Kong were fined after being found guilty Friday of failing to register a now-defunct fund that aimed to help people arrested in the widespread protests three years ago.
Cardinal Joseph Zen, a retired bishop and a vocal democracy advocate of the city, arrived at court in a black outfit and used a walking stick. He was first arrested in May on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces under a Beijing-imposed National Security Law. His arrest sent shockwaves through the Catholic community, although the Vatican only stated it was monitoring the development of the situation closely.
While Zen and other activists at the trial have not yet been charged with national security-related charges, they were charged with failing to properly register the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which helped pay medical and legal fees for arrested protesters beginning in 2019. It ceased operations in October 2021.

Iran players end silent protest at World Cup amid threats of reprisals | The Guardian

Iran’s football team half-heartedly sang their national anthem at the start of their game against Wales after they had faced fierce criticism from government officials for failing to do so at the start of the game against England.
With their lips barely moving, the players had clearly collectively decided to sing the anthem, but the uncomfortable performance contrasted with the vigour that the Welsh players sang their anthem.
TV cameras cut to Iranians in the crowd in tears and even sobbing during the anthem.

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News Headlines - 24 November 2022

Chris Sutton correctly predicted Japan would stun Germany | Metro News

Japan shocked the world with a superb victory over the Germans on Wednesday in their opening Group E match, coming from behind to secure the win.
The result means Germany have lost a World Cup game in which they led at half time for the first time since 1978.
Japan had never previously beaten their European opponents but Sutton saw it coming when he made his opening round predictions.

Japan cleans up locker room after beating Germany | Inquirer Sports

Japanese courtesy was on full display again at the World Cup when the national team left their dressing room spotless with an extra touch of kindness after their incredible 2-1 comeback win against Germany on Wednesday.
While teams often leave the changing room in a messy state after wild celebrations, Japan’s players folded their training vests and, for good measure, left paper cranes on the table.

Iran arrests footballer Ghafouri after he backed protests – DW 

Iranian police arrested the former international football player Voria Ghafouri, who backed the ongoing protests against Iran's regime, state media reported on Thursday.
Ghafouri, a player of Kurdish origin, is one of Iran's most prominent footballers. However, he was not chosen to go to the World Cup in Qatar this year.
His arrest comes amid scrutiny of the conduct of Iran's national team in Qatar, where they refused to sing the national anthem in solidarity with anti-government protests.

Indian police say rats ate 600kg of cannabis from station storeroom

Indian police have said rats ate about 600kg of cannabis after a court demanded that the confiscated drugs be produced as evidence during a trial for people facing smuggling charges.
Police in the northern city of Mathura wrote to magistrates to say 581kg of the drugs had gone missing from two storerooms after being seized from traffickers more than five years ago.
Public prosecutor Ranveer Singh said the drugs were eaten by rodents and could not be produced.

Prisoner to PM: Anwar Ibrahim’s long ride to the top in Malaysia | Al Jazeera

Anwar Ibrahim has been sworn in as Malaysia’s 10th prime minister, trumping a Malay nationalist leader to clinch the top job after divisive general elections led to a hung parliament.
Becoming prime minister caps Anwar’s rollercoaster political journey, from a former deputy prime minister whose sacking and imprisonment in the 1990s led to enormous street protests and a reform movement that rose into a vital political force.
It is a second victory for his reformist bloc, which won 2018 polls but lost power after 22 months due to a power struggle that has led to continuous political turmoil.

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News Headlines - 17 November 2022

5 Killed, 10 Injured In Shooting At Protesters In Busy Iran Market

At least five people were killed when "terrorist elements" shot at protesters and security forces in Iran's southwestern Khuzestan province, state media said Wednesday, citing an unidentified official... There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the reported attack.

Myanmar to Release Detained Japanese Filmmaker - JIJI PRESS

Myanmar will release Japanese documentary filmmaker Toru Kubota Thursday following months of detention in Yangon, its largest city, a spokesman for the country's military said.
Kubota will be granted a pardon by the Myanmar military and leave the Southeast Asian country for Japan Thursday.
He was detained on July 30 when filming a protest in Yangon against Myanmar's military junta.

Ministry to look into church’s in-house practice for adoptions | The Asahi Shimbun

Under the adoption law enacted in 2018, arranging adoptions requires a permit from a prefectural government.
Before that law came into force, both sides in an adoption were required to register the transfer of the child with a local government... Between 1981 and 2021, church followers adopted 745 children, including those arranged through the church that were not registered with local governments.

Former Square Enix employee arrested on suspicion of insider trading | NHK WORLD

Tokyo prosecutors have arrested a former employee of Tokyo-based game maker Square Enix on suspicion of insider trading. The company is known for its popular Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy series... The prosecutors say the two men learned that Square Enix was developing a new game with a Tokyo-based game production company and bought a total of around 340,000 dollars' worth of the production company's shares.

Japan court orders 2 to pay 500 mil. yen over 'fast movie' uploads

The Tokyo District Court on Thursday ordered a man and woman to pay 500 million yen ($3.6 million) in damages to 13 major film production companies for uploading minutes-long, edited versions of their films known as "fast movies" on video-sharing sites without permission.
The court awarded the plaintiffs, including Toho Co., Shochiku Co. and Toei Co., the full amount they had demanded in giving the first court decision in Japan on the amount of damages for unauthorized uploading of such types of edited films.

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News Headlines - 16 November 2022

Japanese Minister Terada Suspected of Election Law Violation - JIJI PRESS

Japanese internal affairs minister Minoru Terada is suspected of having violated the public offices election law in last year's election for the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of parliament, a weekly magazine reported Wednesday.
Terada is believed to have reported that he paid for his own campaign expenses despite a group of his supporters having actually paid them, according to the online edition of the Shukan Bunshun magazine.

Celebrity turned politician facing heat after self-promotion in Japan's upper house - The Mainichi

Japanese actor-singer Kiyoshi Nakajo, who made his political debut winning a seat in July's House of Councillors election, is facing a storm of criticism after promoting his music activities during a Diet session... Nakajo ended his debut asking questions at the committee by saying, "My new song, 'Kasaburanka Roman (Casablanca romance),' was released on Sept. 7. It's reminiscent of the Showa era. If you want to take a listen, by all means go and buy it." He continued, "My final dinner theater performance as a singer is taking place on Dec. 28."

China zero Covid: Violent protests in Guangzhou put curbs under strain - BBC News

Crowds of residents in southern China's industrial metropolis Guangzhou have escaped a compulsory lockdown and clashed with police, as anger at strict coronavirus curbs boiled over.
Dramatic footage shows some tearing down Covid control barriers. Riot teams have now been deployed in the area.
It follows Guangzhou's worst Covid outbreak since the pandemic began.

Tennis star Novak Djokovic to be granted visa to play in Australian Open | The Guardian

Tennis star Novak Djokovic will be given a visa by the Australian government, allowing him to play the 2023 Australian Open.
Guardian Australia understands the immigration minister, Andrew Giles, will give Djokovic a visa, overturning a three-year ban that accompanied the decision by the previous government to cancel his visa on the eve of the 2022 open.

International Paralympic Committee votes to ban Russia and Belarus with immediate effect - BBC Sport

Russia and Belarus have been suspended by the International Paralympic Committee with immediate effect, for their "inability to comply with membership obligations".
Both countries were banned from the 2022 Paralympics earlier this year following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has been supported by Belarus.
On Wednesday, IPC members voted in favour of suspending both nations.

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News Headlines - 15 November 2022

Japan's economy unexpectedly shrinks 1.2% in July-Sept. amid inflation

Japan's economy unexpectedly shrank at an annualized real rate of 1.2 percent in the July-September period, the first contraction in four quarters, government data showed Tuesday after imports surged and private consumption was sluggish as accelerating inflation dampened sentiment... Real gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation, fell 0.3 percent from the previous quarter, according to preliminary data released by the Cabinet Office.

Fugaku tops 2 supercomputer rankings for 6th time - The Japan News

Fugaku was ranked the world’s most powerful supercomputer in two global rankings for the sixth consecutive time since its debut in June 2020, according to the latest rankings made available Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Fugaku, jointly developed by Japanese government-funded research institute Riken and Fujitsu Ltd., remained in second place in one other ranking and dropped from second to third in another.
The rankings are announced in June and November every year. The latest lists were released at an international conference on high-performance computing technology in the United States.

Amazon Is Said to Plan to Lay Off Approximately 10,000 Employees - The New York Times

Amazon plans to lay off approximately 10,000 people in corporate and technology jobs starting as soon as this week, people with knowledge of the matter said, in what would be the largest job cuts in the company’s history.
The cuts will focus on Amazon’s devices organization, including the voice assistant Alexa, as well as at its retail division and in human resources, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
The number of layoffs remains fluid and is likely to roll out team by team rather than all at once as each business finishes plans, one person said.

Russia bans 100 Canadians including Atwood, Jim Carrey | AP News

Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced Monday that 100 Canadians have been added to the list of people banned from entering the country in response to sanctions against Russia by Canada.
A ministry statement said author Margaret Atwood, actor Jim Carrey and Amy Knight, a noted historian of the KGB, were on the banned list.

Earliest sign of controlled fire for cooking found in Israel

Findings published in Nature Ecology and Evolution show definitively that the earliest known cooked meal was 780,000 years ago in modern-day Israel. The study was conducted by a team of researchers from Israeli universities.
The team analysed the remains of a carp-like fish found at the Gesher Benot Ya’aqov archaeological site in Israel.

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News Headlines - 14 November 2022

In Latest Gaffe, Joe Biden Thanks Colombia Instead Of Cambodia For Hosting ASEAN Summit

US President Joe Biden made yet another gaffe on Saturday at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit. Speaking at the event, Mr Biden mixed up Colombia and Cambodia. He mistakenly thanked Colombia instead of Cambodia for hosting the ASEAN Summit.

Japan and South Korea reaffirm efforts to resolve wartime labour disputes | Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday said that he and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol have reaffirmed that their countries will work towards a swift resolution of the wartime labour issue.
At stake is an unresolved dispute over compensation for the Korean wartime labourers used by Japanese firms during World War Two, which had worsened bilateral relations in recent years.

Tokyo police uncover group targeting female dressing rooms at bathhouses | The Japan Times

Tokyo police have detected a series of theft cases involving a group targeting women's changing rooms at public bathhouses, with the amount of losses seen totaling at least 100 million yen... Since November last year, the international criminal investigation section of Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department has arrested a total of 17 members of the group, mostly Chinese nationals.

Iran issues first death sentence over protests | | The Guardian

Iran has issued a first death sentence over protests that have mounted a fierce challenge to four decades of hardline clerical rule, as rights groups warn that a wave of executions may follow as leaders try to end nearly two months of sustained nationwide dissent.
The execution was ordered for an unidentified person for allegedly setting fire to a government building. It followed 227 of Iran’s 290 lawmakers voting earlier this month to implement the death penalty for serious crimes against the state, and repeated demands by some officials to take a harder line against unrest that shows little sign of abating... Upwards of 326 people have died in 57 days of demonstrations, which erupted after the death of a young woman who was detained for wearing her headdress “inappropriately”. Thousands more have been detained.

Salto de Castro: Spanish village on sale for €260,000 - BBC News

Salto de Castro, in north-western Spain, is up for sale and the asking price is €260,000 (£227,000; $259,000).
Located on the border with Portugal in the province of Zamora and a three-hour drive from Madrid, Salto de Castro has many of the buildings you would expect to find in a small Spanish town... Salto de Castro was built by the electricity generation company Iberduero to house families of the workers who built the reservoir next door, from the early 1950s.
But the inhabitants moved away after its completion and the village was totally abandoned in the late 1980s.

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News Headlines - 13 November 2022

At least six dead in suspected terrorist bombing in Istanbul | The Guardian

Six people have been killed and 81 injured after an explosion on Istanbul’s popular pedestrian thoroughfare İstiklal Avenue, in a bomb attack that Turkey’s president described as an act of terrorism.
Speaking shortly before departing for Tuesday’s G20 summit in Bali, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke of a “treacherous attack”, adding: “Those responsible will be punished.”
Erdoğan said investigations were continuing but initial reports suggested an act of terrorism.

Japan PM Kishida criticizes China for sovereignty-violating acts - Nikkei Asia

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday criticized Beijing for stepping up actions that infringe on Japan's sovereignty in the East China Sea at an annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its partners... Kishida was apparently referring to repeated incursions into waters around the Senkaku Islands, a group of East China Sea islets controlled by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing.

6 killed in collision between World War II planes at Wings Over Dallas air show - CBS News

Two World War II-era airplanes collided while performing a flyover at a commemorative event in Texas on Saturday, crashing into the ground and erupting into a ball of flames that left onlookers shocked and dismayed.
Six people were onboard the two planes at the time of the crash, the Commemorative Air Force said, and all six were killed, according to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a Bell P-63 Kingcobra were participating in the Air Force's Wings Over Dallas air show when they collided mid-air near the Dallas Executive Airport just before 1:30 p.m. local time, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Elderly Missouri couple die in house fire

An elderly Missouri man died with his wife in a house fire Thursday after he refused to escape to safety without her.
Dispatchers told Kenneth Zerr to flee his New Melle home that was quickly becoming consumed by flames, but he opted to stay inside to find his wife, Phyllis, the couple’s son told KSDK.

'Voracious' giant snails spark alarm in Venezuela

A "plague" of giant African snails that pose potential health risks to humans is causing alarm in Venezuela where sustained rains have facilitated their proliferation.
The first colonies of the sub-Saharan Achatina fulica snail were discovered at the beginning of November on the shores of Lake Maracaibo in western Venezuela.
Since then, more snails have been found in agricultural areas in the region, as well as in neighboring Tachira state.

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News Headlines - 06 November 2022

COP27: 'Climate chaos' warning as UN summit begins - BBC News

The UN's climate change summit has opened in Egypt with a warning that our planet is "sending a distress signal".
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was responding to a UN report released on Sunday saying the past eight years were on track to be the warmest on record.
More than 120 world leaders are due to arrive at the summit known as COP27, in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Iran protests: Children among 10 feared dead in crackdown, Amnesty says | CNN

Up to 10 people, including children, are feared to have been killed Friday in a crackdown on protests by Iranian security forces in the southeast of the country, human rights watchdog Amnesty International said.
In several Twitter posts Friday, Amnesty said security forces had fired live ammunition at “peaceful protesters from the rooftops of the governor’s office and several other buildings” in the city of Khash in Sistan and Baluchestan province.

Tanzanian Precision Air plane crashes into Lake Victoria - BBC News

A Tanzanian passenger plane has crashed into Lake Victoria as it attempted to land in the lakeside town of Bukoba, killing at least 19 people.
Of the 43 people on board there were 24 survivors, according to operator Precision Air.
The two pilots initially survived and managed to speak to local officials from the cockpit but the prime minister says they may have since died.

Fans flood Gifu for historical parade led by Takuya Kimura | The Asahi Shimbun

Fans poured into this central Japan city to catch a glimpse of popular actor Takuya Kimura dressed as a renowned feudal lord from the 16th century in a traditional festival held Nov. 6.
Kimura posed as Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582) in the Gifu Nobunaga festival, along with fellow actor Hideaki Ito, both on horseback.
Nearly 1 million people applied for spots to view Kimura leading the parade.

Bank of Japan says printing of current batch of yen banknotes has ended | The Japan Times

Japan finished printing in September the current ¥10,000 banknote featuring a portrait of prominent educator Yukichi Fukuzawa, the Bank of Japan said Friday, and production has also been terminated for the ¥5,000 and ¥1,000 bills, featuring portraits of writer Ichiyo Higuchi and bacteriologist Hideyo Noguchi, respectively.
Mass production of the redesigned banknotes has already started, with their circulation slated to begin in the first half of fiscal 2024, which starts in April 2024.

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News Headlines - 05 November 2022

U.S. officials say Russian commanders discussed possible nuclear weapons use in Ukraine - CBS News

Two U.S. officials confirmed to CBS News on Wednesday that senior Russian military officials discussed in mid-October how and when they might use nuclear weapons on the battlefield in Ukraine. The intelligence concerned U.S. officials because the relevant discussions came not long after Russian President Vladimir Putin, seeing Ukrainian forces claw territory back from his troops, hinted that he could resort to nuclear weapons.
Putin warned in late September that he would "certainly use all the means at our disposal" to defend Russian territory.

Nightclub fire that killed 13 'started by Russian soldier told to return to frontline'

A Russian soldier who was set to shortly be redeployed to Ukraine has been arrested after allegedly starting a fire in a nightclub that killed 13 people.
Stanislav Ionkin, 23, had recently returned from the frontline after being injured by shelling, but was due to report back to his unit this month, according to the Russian Baza news agency.
He is suspected of setting off fireworks in the Polygon nightclub in the town of Kostroma in central Russia on Friday evening, starting a blaze that went on to kill at least 13 people.

Imran Khan: Pakistan ex-prime minister wounded at protest march - BBC News

Pakistan's ousted Prime Minister, Imran Khan, has survived a gun attack on his convoy while holding a protest march in the eastern city of Wazirabad.
He was wounded in the leg when a burst of gunfire hit his vehicle. One person was killed and at least five others were injured... The protest march had been called to demand early elections.

Eight-year-old Boy Gets Bitten By Cobra, Bites The Snake Twice, Snake Dies

Eight-year-old Deepak from Chhattisgarh’s Jashpur district has made to international newspapers after he bit a cobra twice, which killed it.
The act was in retaliation after the serpent had bit the boy.

Former Miss Argentina and ex-Miss Puerto Rico reveal they are married

A former Miss Argentina and an ex-Miss Puerto Rico announced on Instagram over the weekend that they are married.
In a joint post shared to both their accounts, Mariana Varela of Argentina and Fabiola Valentín of Puerto Rico wrote, “After deciding to keep our relationship private, we now open our doors to a special day.” The message included what appeared to be their wedding date, Oct. 28, along with heart and ring emojis.

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News Headlines - 04 November 2022

Inside Putin’s bunker: how he kept the plan to invade Ukraine secret | The Times

By the beginning of 2020 the only men in Putin’s inner circle were his oldest, most trusted and – tragically for Russia and Ukraine – most hawkish and paranoid allies. The invasion of 2022 was, in the minds of the Soviet-era fantasists who planned and pushed it, first and foremost a pre-emptive strike to save Russia from a looming strategic threat from the West.
Ukraine was merely the battlefield where the two former superpowers’ interests came into direct confrontation – the location for what Putin’s closest circle imagined was a millennial battle between the two sides.

At Least 100 Mobilized Russians Die On and Off Battlefield, Analysis Says - The Moscow Times

At least 100 mobilized Russians have been killed on and off the battlefield since President Vladimir Putin announced his chaotic military call-up last month, according to an analysis of confirmed deaths by independent media published Tuesday.
One in five of the mobilized men were said to have died before deployment due to alcohol, drugs, physical altercations, suicide or accidents.
Independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta Europe said it tracked the data using official statements, including those circulated by media outlets, obituaries and social media posts that were corroborated by the men’s relatives.

North Korea Launches 3 SRBMs and 80 Artillery Shells – The Diplomat

North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) off its east coast late on Thursday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
The missiles were launched from the Goksan area of the North Hwanghae Province at around 9:30 p.m. and flew about 490 km with an altitude of 130 km.
North Korea had already launched ballistic missiles, including a suspected Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), earlier on Thursday as a response to the extensive joint military air drill between South Korea and the United States, known as Vigilant Storm.

US offers US$5 million reward for Singaporean over North Korea oil shipments - CNA

The Biden administration is offering a reward of up to US$5 million for information about a Singapore-based businessman already accused by the Justice Department of facilitating fuel shipments to North Korea in violation of UN sanctions.
Kwek Kee Seng, who owns the Swanseas Port Services shipping company in Singapore, was charged last year with arranging the deliveries, with prosecutors alleging that he used front companies and false documentation to hide the scheme. Officials say that business helps enable North Korea's nuclear proliferation programmes.

LDP taps ousted Cabinet minister to lead COVID-19 task force | The Asahi Shimbun

A Cabinet member who was virtually forced out of the Kishida administration after mishandling revelations about his ties with the Unification Church will now lead the ruling party’s COVID-19 task force.
Daishiro Yamagiwa, 54, resigned as state minister in charge of economic revitalization on Oct. 24 after it became publicly known that he attended multiple events related to the church and met with its leader... But on Oct. 28, just four days after his resignation, the Liberal Democratic Party appointed Yamagiwa as head of its COVID-19 task force, according to party sources.
The party’s stance is that Yamagiwa took a lead role in the Kishida administration’s pandemic response, making him qualified for the post.

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News Headlines - 03 November 2022

US, South Korea extend war drills in response to North’s missile launches | The Hill

The United States and South Korea have decided to extend military exercises in response to a recent spate of missile launches from North Korea, offering stern warnings for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un should he hold a nuclear test, officials announced Thursday.
The decision to extend the Vigilant Storm joint military air drills comes after Pyongyang late Wednesday launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), with additional missile launches early Thursday... The U.S.-South Korea war games, which began on Monday, had been scheduled to end on Friday... Officials did not say how long the drills would be extended.

Ransomware attack halts services at Osaka hospital | The Asahi Shimbun

Osaka General Medical Center in the city’s Sumiyoshi Ward is still performing emergency operations, but it has stopped providing outpatient services and postponed other surgeries, hospital officials said at a news conference.
Staff members noticed a network server failure at 6:40 a.m. on Oct. 31, along with messages sent in English that said “all files have been encrypted.”
The hackers demanded a ransom paid in the bitcoin cryptocurrency.

Ceremony Held for Starting Shuri Castle Rebuilding | JIJI PRESS

A groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the start of the work to rebuild the "Seiden" main hall of Shuri Castle in Okinawa Prefecture, southernmost Japan, some three years after a massive fire devastated the local landmark.
At the ceremony, held on Thursday, about 240 participants, including Naoki Okada, minister in charge of issues related to Okinawa, and Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki, prayed for the safety of the reconstruction work, which is planned to be finished in autumn 2026.

Chinese bank seizes China Evergrande chairman's Hong Kong mansion - Nikkei Asia

A mansion belonging to embattled China Evergrande Group's chairman in Hong Kong's prestigious The Peak residential enclave has been seized by lender China Construction Bank (Asia), records from the Land Registry show.
The bank appointed receivers to take over the 5,000 sq. feet (465 sq. meters) mansion on Nov. 1, according to a filing.

Man’s dead body travels 900km undetected in Indian train toilet | Al Arabiya English

Police said Thursday they discovered the dead body of a man that had travelled undetected for 900 kilometers (560 miles) across northern India locked inside a train toilet.
They believe the man boarded the train days before it set off from Bihar state and died inside the lavatory after locking the door.

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News Headlines - 02 November 2022

Suella Braverman admits using personal email for work six times | The Guardian

Suella Braverman has admitted using her personal email for official business six times so she could read the documents while taking work video calls.
The home secretary was reappointed to the position by Rishi Sunak after quitting under Liz Truss because she breached security rules by sending a draft written ministerial statement (WMS) to the Conservative backbencher John Hayes and also accidentally to someone on the staff of the Tory MP Andrew Percy, breaching the ministerial code.

Prince Harry's memoir is called Spare: Release date set for January 10 | Daily Mail Online

The Royal Family will be 'very concerned' after it emerged Prince Harry's controversial memoir will be called Spare, an expert said today – as the publisher promised 'raw, unflinching honesty' in the book which will be released on January 10.
The eye-catching title is a nod to Harry's nickname as a 'spare' prince – in contrast to his brother William, the heir to the throne. The Spanish language version is even more pointed, having been given the subtitle En La Sombra, or 'in the shadow'.
Harry was reportedly paid a $20million (£18.4million) advance for the book as part of a three-title deal worth £36.8m. Today, publisher Penguin Random House said the duke had donated $1.5million (£1.3million) to children's charity Sentebale and £300,000 to WellChild, a charity for disabled children for which he serves as patron.

Toyota's profit declines further in 1st-half despite weak yen - The Mainichi

Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday its net profit in the six months ended September fell 23.2 percent to 1.17 trillion yen ($7.9 billion) from a year earlier, with its earnings situation getting even worse after the first quarter, as soaring material costs outweighed the positive impact of a weaker yen... Toyota cut its full-year production plan through next March to 9.2 million vehicles from 9.7 million announced in May, saying it is still reeling from the global chip shortage that has affected manufacturers.

Investigators raid Seoul police over deadly crowd surge - The Mainichi

South Korea's National Police Agency on Wednesday raided local police departments in the capital, Seoul, and the city's Yongsan district office as it investigates whether official ineptitude contributed to a deadly crowd surge that killed 156 people in the neighborhood of Itaewon.
The raids came a day after the national agency acknowledged that Seoul police failed to act for hours despite receiving at least 11 emergency calls from pedestrians warning about a swelling crowd of Halloween revelers getting out of control ahead of the crush on Saturday in a narrow alley near Hamilton Hotel.

Ethiopia: Government, Tigrayan forces agree to end two-year war | Al Jazeera

The parties in the conflict in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray have agreed on a “permanent cessation of hostilities”, the African Union mediator said, just more than a week after formal peace talks began in South Africa.
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, in the first briefing on the peace talks on Wednesday, said Ethiopia’s government and Tigrayan authorities have agreed on “orderly, smooth and coordinated disarmament” along with “restoration of law and order”, “restoration of services” and “unhindered access to humanitarian supplies”... The war, which broke out in November 2020, has pitted regional forces from Tigray against Ethiopia’s federal army and its allies, which include forces from other regions and from neighbouring Eritrea.

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News Headlines - 01 November 2022

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun leaves office amid crisis | Al Jazeera

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun has vacated the presidential palace with no successor in line to replace him as the divided country struggles to recover from a years-long financial crisis... Lebanon’s parliament has so far been unable to agree on who would take over the role – which has the power to sign bills into law, appoint new prime ministers and greenlight government formations before they are voted on by parliament.
Lebanon has been governed by a caretaker cabinet as the prime minister-designate, Najib Mikati, has been trying for six months to form a government.

China to revise women's protection law for first time in decades | Reuters

Legislation aimed at giving women in China more protection against gender discrimination and sexual harassment at work was submitted to China's parliament on Thursday after a third revision and extensive public input.
The revised legislation comes as activists have expressed concern about increasing government rhetoric on the value traditional women's roles and what some see as setbacks for women's rights and more restrictive attitudes towards abortion.
It is the first time in nearly 30 years that the law on women's protection is being revised. The draft "Women's Rights and Interests Protection Law" was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the official Xinhua news agency said.

Much-awaited Ghibli Park opens to fanfare in central Japan

A theme park featuring the beloved characters of Studio Ghibli and scenes from its hit animation films such as "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Spirited Away" opened Tuesday in central Japan.
Ghibli Park in Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture, opened three areas -- Ghibli's Grand Warehouse, Hill of Youth, and Dondoko Forest -- to expectant fans of the famed animation studio, with tickets for November already sold out.

Hideaki Takizawa quits as Johnny & Associates VP to move onto 'next stage' - The Mainichi

Major Japanese talent agency Johnny & Associates Inc. announced on Nov. 1 that Hideaki Takizawa, formerly a member of the pop duo Tackey & Tsubasa, had stepped down as its executive vice president... He also resigned as president of Johnnys' Island Inc., a group company cultivating new talent, and was replaced by Yoshihiko Inohara, 46, formerly a member of the now-defunct boy band V6.
According to the agency's website, Takizawa informed the company in mid-September that he wanted to step down as president of Johnnys' Island and a group company executive as of the end of October.

Shogi player disqualified from match in Tokyo for not wearing mask - The Mainichi

A shogi player was disqualified for not wearing a mask for a set span of time during a match in the Japanese capital on Oct. 28 -- the first such case since mandatory masking during play was implemented due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Amahiko Sato, a 34-year-old ninth-dan player, automatically lost his match during the 81st Meijin class A ranking tournament held at the Shogi Hall in Tokyo's Sendagaya district.
A temporary rule set by the Japan Shogi Association in January 2022 to combat COVID-19 infections stipulates that, except for brief moments, players "must wear masks during matches" unless they cannot do so due to a health issue. Violators can be disqualified from matches by an observer.

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News Headlines - 31 October 2022

Brazil elections: Lula da Silva will return to Brazil's presidency in stunning comeback | CNN

Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva has been elected the next president of Brazil, in a stunning comeback following a tight run-off race on Sunday. His victory heralds a political about-face for Latin America’s largest country, after four years of Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right administration.
The 76-year-old politician’s win represents the return of the left into power in Brazil, and concludes a triumphant personal comeback for Lula da Silva, after a series of corruption allegations lead to his imprisonment for 580 days. The sentences were later annulled by the Supreme Court, clearing his path to run for reelection.

Liz Truss's personal phone was hacked by Putin's spies for top messages | Daily Mail Online

Liz Truss's personal mobile phone was hacked by agents suspected of working for the Kremlin, The Mail on Sunday can reveal... The hack was discovered during the summer’s Tory leadership campaign, when Ms Truss was Foreign Secretary, but the details were suppressed by Boris Johnson, who was Prime Minister at the time, and the Cabinet Secretary, Simon Case... The astonishing incident, disclosed by security sources, solves the mystery of why Ms Truss was forced to change the mobile number she had used for over a decade shortly before becoming Prime Minister. The move caused anxiety among Cabinet Ministers and advisers who were suddenly unable to contact her.

Suspension bridge collapse kills at least 132 in India | AP News

Military teams were searching Monday for people missing after a century-old cable suspension bridge collapsed into a river Sunday in the western Indian state of Gujarat, sending hundreds plunging into the water and killing at least 132 in one of the worst accidents in the country in the past decade.
At least 177 survivors were pulled from the river and teams from the army, navy and air force were looking for others still missing, said Jigar Khunt, an information department official in Gujarat said.

Japan's space agency investigating failed Epsilon rocket launch | NHK WORLD

The JAXA representative said a valve for a tube may not have worked properly, which could have led to the failure.
JAXA had already discovered an abnormality in one of the attitude control devices mounted on the second-stage engine of the rocket.
The agency is looking to see if the failure might affect a launch of a new H3 rocket as it uses a valve by the same maker, albeit a different type.

Baseball: Orix wins franchise's 1st Japan Series in 26 years

The Orix Buffaloes, champions of Japan's Pacific League, beat the Central League champion Yakult Swallows 5-4 in Game 7 on Sunday to win their franchise's first Japan Series since Ichiro Suzuki and the Orix BlueWave triumphed in 1996.

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News Headlines - 30 October 2022

153 dead, 103 injured amid Itaewon Halloween crowd surge: officials

At least 153 people died and more than 103 were injured in a crowd crush in Itaewon, Yongsan-gu, central Seoul, according to fire authorities at 5 p.m. on Sunday. The fire department began to receive reports of patients having difficulty breathing at 10:22 p.m. on Saturday... The fire department issued a first stage response at 10:38 p.m. on Saturday, and then upgraded it to stage three at 11:50 p.m... At around 11:30 p.m., rescue workers were conducting CPR on dozens of people that went unconscious near the Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon, reports said... Around 100,000 people were in the entertainment district throughout the day on Saturday to celebrate the first Halloween weekend without mask and social distancing measures since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Japan to spend 29.1 tril. yen on economic package amid inflation - The Mainichi

Japan will spend 29.1 trillion yen ($199 billion) under an economic package unveiled Friday, featuring steps to alleviate the pain of accelerating inflation and lift the economy out of the doldrums amid COVID-19, Russia's war against Ukraine and a weaker yen.
Faced with faltering public support, the government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is reducing household utility bills as a major pillar of the package. It estimates the average household will save 5,000 yen a month from January to September.

Japan considering buying U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles | The Japan Times

Japan is considering buying U.S.-developed Tomahawk cruise missiles as part of efforts to more quickly bolster its deterrence capacity, government officials said Friday, with Tokyo seeking the ability to disable an enemy country’s missiles in its territory.
The plan to purchase sea-launched Tomahawks, which have a range of up to 2,500 kilometers and can travel relatively low to the ground, emerged as the government aims to declare the possession of “counterstrike capability” in its key long-term security policy guideline to be updated by the end of this year.
However, while the move comes amid increasing security challenges from North Korea and China, acquiring such a capability is controversial in Japan, which has long held an exclusively self-defense-oriented stance under its war-renouncing Constitution.

Israel, Lebanon sign US-brokered maritime border deal | Al Jazeera

Israel and Lebanon have officially approved a historic United States-brokered agreement laying out their maritime boundary for the first time, which opens up the possibility for both countries to conduct offshore energy exploration.
Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun signed a letter at the presidential palace on Thursday morning that will be submitted to US officials at Lebanon’s southernmost border point of Naqoura later in the day.

Twin bombings in Somalia kill at least 100, injure 300

The number of people killed in an attack on Saturday at a busy intersection in the Somali capital Mogadishu has risen to 100, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said on Sunday... Two cars packed with explosives blew up minutes apart near the busy Zobe intersection, followed by gunfire in an attack targeting Somalia's education ministry.

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News Headlines - 29 October 2022

BOJ moves to ward off downturn by maintaining easy money policy - Nikkei Asia

The Bank of Japan decided to maintain its ultraloose monetary policy on Friday as Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda highlighted downside risks to the economy and indicated his willingness to accept a weaker yen.
The BOJ released inflation projections, with the mean projection rising to 2.9% from 2.3% for fiscal 2022, and to 1.6% from 1.4% for fiscal 2023, in a sign that price increases are becoming more widespread than policy board members had anticipated. Fiscal years end in March.

Hirokazu, meet Hirokazu: 178 Hirokazu Tanakas set record for gathering of people with same name | The Japan Times

A 178-strong group of people all named Hirokazu Tanaka broke the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people with the same first and last name in Tokyo on Saturday.
The Tanaka Hirokazu association organized the successful attempt in Shibuya Ward, which saw them outdo the 2005 record set by 164 people called Martha Stewart, who were brought together by the famous American businesswoman of the same name.
A representative of the association, Hirokazu Tanaka, 53, said it was the group’s third try after two failed attempts in 2011 and 2017, when 71 and 87 Hirokazu Tanakas turned up, respectively.

Syphilis cases in Japan soar above 10,000 in 2022 for 1st time - The Mainichi

The number of syphilis cases recorded across Japan so far this year has topped 10,000 -- the first time the figure has climbed above the threshold since records began, according to preliminary data.
A total of 10,141 syphilis cases had been recorded this year as of Oct. 23, far exceeding last year's pace. Last year Japan saw 7,875 cases -- a record at the time -- but that figure was passed in September this year... Sex with multiple partners met through social media and dating apps has been blamed as a factor behind the surge.

Mondrian painting has been hanging upside down for 75 years | The Guardian

A painting by abstract Dutch artist Piet Mondrian has been hanging upside down in various museums since it was first put on display 75 years ago, an art historian has found, but warned it could disintegrate if it was hung the right side up now.
The 1941 picture, a complex interlacing lattice of red, yellow, black and blue adhesive tapes titled New York City I, was first put on display at New York’s MoMA in 1945 but has hung at the art collection of the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Düsseldorf since 1980.
The way the picture is currently hung shows the multicoloured lines thickening at the bottom, suggesting an extremely simplified version of a skyline. However, when curator Susanne Meyer-Büser started researching the museum’s new show on the Dutch avant garde artist earlier this year, she realised the picture should be the other way around.

Iraq’s parliament approves new government | Politics News | Al Jazeera

Iraqi lawmakers approved a new cabinet after a year-long crisis triggered by contested elections.
Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, 52, who previously served as Iraq’s human rights minister as well as minister of labour and social affairs, will head the new government.

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News Headlines - 28 October 2022

Kihara Received Recommendation Letter from Church-Linked Group - JIJI PRESS

Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara revealed Friday that he had received a letter of recommendation for the October 2021 House of Representatives election from an organization linked to the controversial religious group known as the Unification Church.
Kihara, a member of the lower chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament, is the closest aide to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, also president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Jailed Kudo-kai yakuza member arrested over 2013 murder of gyoza chain president - The Japan News

The Kyoto Prefectural Police on Friday arrested Yukio Tanaka, a member of the Kudo-kai crime syndicate who is currently in prison, on suspicion of fatally shooting the 72-year-old president of a gyoza restaurant chain in 2013.
Tanaka, 56, is serving a 10-year sentence in Fukuoka Prison for a firearms-related offense. He was arrested by the Fukuoka Prefectural Police in June 2018 for shooting at a car carrying an employee of a construction firm in the prefectural capital.
The Kyoto Prefectural Police have arrested Tanaka on suspicion of murdering Takayuki Ohigashi, the president of Ohsho Food Service Corp., which operates the Gyoza no Ohsho restaurant chain.

Sapporo raising estimated cost to host Olympics by 17 billion yen | The Asahi Shimbun

Soaring consumer prices and the sliding yen forced the Sapporo city government to add 17 billion yen ($116 million) to its estimated cost to host the 2030 Winter Olympics, sources said.
The Sapporo government in November 2021 estimated the overall cost of hosting the Winter Games at between 280 billion yen and 300 billion yen.
According to the sources, the range has risen to between 297 billion yen and 317 billion yen... Sapporo’s amount will now increase to 49 billion yen, the sources said.

Self-driving cars: Japan opens roads to Level 4 vehicles in April - Nikkei Asia

Japan plans to allow nearly autonomous vehicles on public roads in a limited capacity starting this spring, paving the way for services such as robotaxis and driverless buses.
Under plans revealed this week, the National Police Agency seeks next April to lift a ban on so-called Level 4 self-driving vehicles, which can operate without a driver under certain conditions.

Elon Musk carried a sink into Twitter on Wednesday as deal nears close

With just a few more days left to complete his acquisition of Twitter and stave off a new court date, billionaire Elon Musk walked into the company’s San Francisco office on Wednesday with what appeared to be a porcelain bathroom sink in his hands.
“Entering Twitter HQ – let that sink in!” the Tesla and SpaceX CEO tweeted with a video of his entrance.

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News Headlines - 27 October 2022

Widow of slain ex-PM Abe eyed as successor in Japan's lower house - The Mainichi

Akie Abe, the widow of slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is being eyed as a promising successor to temporarily fill in her husband's vacated seat in Japan's lower house, ahead of a by-election likely to be held in April next year.
The by-election for the House of Representatives' Yamaguchi No. 4 constituency will likely be held in April 2023, based on provisions of the Public Offices Election Act... During an Oct. 15 funeral held in Yamaguchi Prefecture to commemorate Abe's contributions to his hometown, Akie said in a speech, "My husband really loved Yamaguchi as well as (the cities of) Shimonoseki and Nagato. I also want to engage in some sort of activity for this area."

Internal affairs minister: Dead man listed as group treasurer | The Asahi Shimbun

Minoru Terada, the internal affairs minister, apologized for a support group’s “error” of listing a dead man as its treasurer in its political funds reports for 2019 and 2020... His Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has jurisdiction over the Political Fund Control Law.
Terada, who represents a constituency in Hiroshima Prefecture, confirmed in the Diet session that a man who died in October 2019 was named treasurer of the “Minoru Terada Takehara” support group in the prefecture in the income and expenditure reports for 2019 and 2020.
The reports also featured the dead man’s seal affixed to the written oath declaring the authenticity of the reports’ contents.

Iran Mosque Attack: 15 Killed, 40 Wounded In Iran Mosque Terror Attack: Report

At least 15 people were killed Wednesday in an attack on a key Shiite Muslim shrine in southern Iran, state media said, with the Islamic State group claiming the assault.
The attack carried out by an armed "terrorist" during evening prayers at the Shah Cheragh mausoleum in the city of Shiraz also wounded at least 19 people, state television said.
Earlier reports said 13 people were killed and 40 wounded, and that three assailants were involved.

Ethiopia-Tigray peace talks open in South Africa – DW

Formal talks after two years of war between the Ethiopian federal forces and the northern region of Tigray opened in South Africa on Tuesday.
The African Union, as mediator, aims to broker an end to the conflict, which has killed thousands and displaced millions, putting a large section of the population on the brink of famine.
The discussions, which will continue until Sunday, are the highest-level effort yet aimed at bringing the violence to an end.

I’m 43% Nigerian — Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle | Africanews

The mother of two made this known during a conversation with Senegalese-American actress and comedian Issa Rae, and Nigerian-American comedian and writer Ziwe Fumudoh.
According to her, a couple of years ago she took a genealogy test which revealed that she is 43% Nigerian... The revelation came as a shock to Ziwe who excitedly shouted “No way” and further asked about the tribe in Nigeria she was from.
But Meghan answered, “I am going to start to dig deeper because anyone that I told especially Nigerians women is always like what?”

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News Headlines - 26 October 2022

Ogushi admits signing Unification Church 'policy accord' | The Japan Times

State Minister for Digital Transformation Masaki Ogushi said Wednesday he had signed a de facto policy accord with an organization linked to the controversial religious group known as the Unification Church.
The signature is dated Oct. 3 last year, before the election for the House of Representatives held on Oct. 31 in the same year, Ogushi said at a meeting of the Lower House’s Committee on Health, Labor and Welfare in response to a question from an opposition lawmaker.

Japan’s basic pension benefits for future generations being discussed - The Japan News

The Social Security Council, an advisory body to the health, labor and welfare minister, held a pension subcommittee meeting for the first time in three years on Tuesday.
The major issues discussed at the meeting included extending the coverage of the employees’ pension insurance system to shorter-hour workers and the required enrollment period in the national pension system to receive the basic pension to 45 years from 40.
The public pension system has the national pension system for all residents ages 20-59 as the first tier, and the employees’ pension insurance system for company employees and civil servants as the second tier.

Man accused of killing police officer in 1971 riot in Tokyo's Shibuya pleads innocence - The Mainichi

A man accused of killing a police officer during a riot in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward in 1971 pleaded not guilty to the crime and other charges during the first hearing of his trial on Oct. 25... According to the indictment and other sources, Osaka assaulted riot police on Nov. 14, 1971, along with activists belonging to the Zengakuren university student associations federation affiliated with Chukaku-ha. The group was calling for thwarting the ratification of the 1971 Okinawa Reversion Agreement that recognized the U.S. military presence in the southern island prefecture.
During the riot, Osaka allegedly killed then 21-year-old officer Tsuneo Nakamura by beating him with an iron pipe and other weapons and hurled a Molotov cocktail at him.

Myanmar crisis: 50 killed in air raid on Kachin rebels, reports say - BBC News

An air raid targeting one of Myanmar's biggest ethnic insurgent groups has killed at least 50 people and injured about 100, reports say.
The death toll was given to the BBC by Colonel Naw Bu, spokesman of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).
Eyewitnesses in Kachin State, northern Myanmar, say aircraft dropped three bombs on a concert organised by the KIA in Kansi village... The concert in Kansi was to mark the 62nd anniversary of the rebel army's campaign for autonomy.

Clashes as thousands attend Mahsa Amini memorial in Iran’s Saqqez | Al Jazeera

Iranian security forces have clashed with people taking part in a memorial for Mahsa Amini, according to a semi-official news agency, as thousands gathered in her hometown of Saqqez to mark 40 days since her death... Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, died in the capital, Tehran, on September 16 after being detained by the country’s morality police for allegedly wearing improper hijab. Her family have challenged a state investigation that blamed pre-existing conditions for her death which, it said, was not the result of Amini being hit.
The weeks-long protests first broke out in Saqqez, in the northwestern Kurdistan province. They have since spread quickly across the country, persisting amid severe internet restrictions that remain in place.

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News Headlines - 25 October 2022

Ex-PM Noda Delivers Parliamentary Speech for Abe - JIJI PRESS

Former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda delivered a memorial speech honoring the late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a plenary meeting of the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
"I wanted to engage in a fierce battle of words and souls with you (Abe) again on this floor," said Noda, Abe's immediate predecessor as the country's leader and currently a member of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.

Yellen Says No Information on Japan Intervening on Yen Again - Bloomberg

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen declined to comment on reports that the Japanese government is again intervening in currency markets, saying the US government hadn’t received any notice from Tokyo about such a move.
“I’m not aware of any intervention that the Japanese have done, that they’ve indicated they’ve done,” Yellen told reporters following a speech in New York.

Planned cuts at Twitter likely to hurt content moderation, user security - The Washington Post

Twitter’s workforce is likely to be hit with massive cuts in the coming months, no matter who owns the company, interviews and documents obtained by The Washington Post show, a change likely to have major impact on its ability to control harmful content and prevent data security crises.
Elon Musk told prospective investors in his deal to buy the company that he planned to get rid of nearly 75 percent of Twitter’s 7,500 workers, whittling the company down to a skeleton staff of just over 2,000.

Pakistani journalist killed by police in Kenya ‘was case of mistaken identity’ | The Guardian

Kenya’s national police service has said it regretted the killing of a Pakistani journalist who had been living in hiding in the country and was shot dead in Nairobi in an incident it described as a case of mistaken identity.
Officers opened fire on Arshad Sharif, 50, and a friend on Sunday after they allegedly drove through a security roadblock outside the Kenyan capital.
The officers shot at the car nine times, hitting Sharif in the head. They were on the lookout for a similar vehicle, which they claim had been linked with a child kidnapping case, according to police accounts... Sharif’s killing has raised suspicions of foul play among observers, politicians and the press. The journalist, who was a fierce critic of the Pakistani government, fled the country in August after allegedly receiving death threats over his work. His whereabouts were not publicly known. Most of his friends knew only that he had spent time in Dubai and London.

Festival featuring Takuya Kimura swamped with applications - The Japan News

Gifu City announced Tuesday that the number of those applying to watch the Gifu Nobunaga Matsuri festival, which will feature actor Takuya Kimura, totaled 966,555, far exceeding the 15,000 ticket limit.
The festival, commemorating the famous 16th-century warload Oda Nobunaga, will be held on Nov. 6.
The city will conduct a lottery and notify the applicants via email by the end of October as to whether they have been selected.

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News Headlines - 24 October 2022

China's delayed economic report shows growth below target | Fortune

In data delayed almost a week, the statistics bureau’s figures showed gross domestic product rebounded to 3.9% in the third quarter from almost stagnant growth in the second quarter when Shanghai and other cities were in lockdown... The GDP report came shortly after this weekend’s close of the Communist Party’s twice-a-decade congress, in which Xi secured a third term in power and installed loyalists into the top ranks of the party... The economy has come under immense pressure this year, with growth set to slow to just 3.3% in 2022 — far lower than an official target of about 5.5% set earlier this year.

Japan economy minister steps down over ties with Unification Church

Japan's economy minister Daishiro Yamagiwa said Monday he will step down for failing to explain his relationship with the Unification Church, becoming the first Cabinet member to resign under Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's government... Yamagiwa had been under fire for failing to explain his links to the group, often labeled as a cult, and he repeatedly claimed that he had "no recollection" whenever new evidence arose of his close ties with the Unification Church.

Cabinet OKs bill to rebalance Lower House electoral districts | The Japan Times

The Cabinet on Friday approved a bill to bring about the country’s largest ever change to the distribution and boundaries of Lower House single-seat districts to rectify a vote-value disparity that the Supreme Court says has generated a “state of unconstitutionality” in national elections.
The revision to the Public Offices Election Act would include adding 10 single-seat districts to five prefectures, while cutting one each from 10 prefectures, with an eye to narrowing the vote disparity below the twofold level between densely and sparsely populated districts.
In all, the changes would affect 140 single-seat districts in 25 prefectures.

Death row prisoners launch legal challenge to Japan’s no-notice executions - Vatican News

Two prisoners sentenced to death in Japan have launched an appeal against how the country applies the death penalty.
Japan gives prisoners on death row only one or two hours' notice of their hanging, a policy that authorities say safeguards the victim’s “emotional stability.”
The case, brought by two anonymous death row prisoners in Osaka district court, contains harrowing testimony... Other testimony takes the form of an audio tape recorded in 1955, which shows the final hours of an unnamed prisoner at a time when notice periods were longer. In the tape, the man receives three days’ notice of his upcoming execution and spends the time making affectionate farewells to inmates and his visiting sister, who sobs. The tape includes sound of the man being hanged as Buddhist priests chant sutras.

Japan's top court exempts music school students' play from copyright fees | NHK WORLD

Japan's Supreme Court has ruled that performances by music school students are not subject to copyright payments, while copyright holders may charge for musical works used by teachers in music classes.
This is the first finalized court ruling in Japan regarding copyright fees in music schools.
In 2017, about 250 music school operators filed a lawsuit against the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers, or JASRAC.

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News Headlines - 23 October 2022

Russian warplane falls on building in Siberia; 2 pilots die | AP News

A Russian warplane slammed into a residential building in the Siberian city of Irkutsk on Sunday, killing both crewmembers, authorities said. It was the second time in less than a week that a combat jet crashed in a residential area in Russia... Sunday’s crash was the 11th reported noncombat crash of a Russian warplane since Moscow sent its troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24. Military experts have noted that as the number of Russian military flights increased sharply during the fighting, so did the number of crashes.

Hu Jintao: Former Chinese leader unexpectedly led out of Party Congress | CNN

China’s former top leader, Hu Jintao, was unexpectedly led out of Saturday’s closing ceremony of the Communist Party Congress, in a moment of drama during what is typically a highly choreographed event.
Hu, 79, was seated in a prominent position at the front table in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, directly next to his successor, current leader Xi Jinping, when he was approached by a staff member, video of the meeting shows... Hu then appeared to rise after being lifted up by the staff member, who’d taken the former leader by the arm, while Kong Shaoxun, head of the party’s secretariat came over. Hu spoke with the two men briefly and initially appeared reluctant to leave.
Hu was then escorted by the two men from his seat, with the staff member holding his arm, as other party members seated behind the main table looked on. The circumstances surrounding Hu’s exit are not clear.

Robo-Kono: Researchers unveil robotic avatar of Japan's digital minister - The Mainichi

A group of robotics researchers unveiled a mechanical "avatar" of Minister for Digital Reform Taro Kono to the press on Oct. 21, apparently the first example in the world of a robot doppelganger of a serving government minister.
The research group, including Osaka University professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, is set to proceed with remote control demonstration tests with the robo-Kono. The minister himself took a turn at controlling his mechanical alter ego at the press event, and appeared pleased with the results.

Japan Sept. consumer inflation accelerates 3%, fastest in 31 years

Japan's core consumer prices leaped 3.0 percent in September, marking the sharpest gain in over 31 years, as a faltering yen inflated a range of import costs from energy to food, government data showed Friday, complicating the Bank of Japan's commitment to monetary easing... The headline figure marked the largest year-on-year increase since August 1991, if the effects of a series of consumption tax hikes are excluded. When the tax increases are factored in, the key gauge of inflation saw its biggest gain since September 2014, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

Japan emperor, empress visit Okinawa for 1st time since enthronement

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako on Saturday paid tribute to the war dead at local memorial sites in Okinawa, marking their first visit to the island prefecture since his enthronement in 2019.
At the National War Dead Peace Mausoleum in the city of Itoman, where the remains of some 180,000 war dead are kept, the imperial couple offered flowers and met with around 20 people, including surviving family members, observing the scene.

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News Headlines - 22 October 2022

Asra Panahi: Iran schoolgirl died after being beaten by security forces, teachers say - BBC News

A 15-year-old girl died in north-west Iran last week after she was beaten by security forces during a raid on her school, a teachers' union has alleged.
Asra Panahi was one of several students injured in the incident in Ardabil, a statement posted by the Co-ordinating Council of Teachers Syndicates said.
They were attacked by security forces when they refused to sing an anthem praising the supreme leader, it added.

Trump's classified Mar-a-Lago documents held secrets about Iran, China - The Washington Post

Some of the classified documents recovered by the FBI from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and private club included highly sensitive intelligence regarding Iran and China, according to people familiar with the matter. If shared with others, the people said, such information could expose intelligence-gathering methods that the United States wants to keep hidden from the world... Unauthorized disclosures of specific information in the documents would pose multiple risks, experts say. People aiding U.S. intelligence efforts could be endangered, and collection methods could be compromised. In addition, other countries or U.S. adversaries could retaliate against the United States for actions it has taken in secret.

10 More Mitsubishi Electric Execs Punished over Quality Scandal - JIJI PRESS

Mitsubishi Electric Corp. on Thursday announced punishments for 10 more incumbent and former executives over a series of product quality inspection irregularities at the Japanese company... In total, 197 cases of malpractice have been confirmed at 17 of all 22 domestic manufacturing bases of the company.
Of the total cases, 112 were intentional while people in managerial positions were involved in 62 cases, including through issuing related instructions. Among the officials, former Mitsubishi Electric Chairman Masaki Sakuyama was involved when he was in a senior position.

LDP’s Sugita told to pay Shiori Ito for 25 ‘likes’ of defaming tweets | The Asahi Shimbun

The Tokyo High Court on Oct. 20 ordered a ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker to pay damages to journalist Shiori Ito for “liking” a number of defamatory tweets posted against her.
In reversing a Tokyo District Court ruling in March, Presiding Judge Hiroshi Ishii ordered Mio Sugita to pay Ito damages of about 550,000 yen ($3,667) for liking the disparaging tweets.
Sugita, parliamentary vice minister for internal affairs and communications, liked a total of 25 third-party posts on Twitter from June to July 2018 that slandered Ito.

Chinese giant pandas arrive in Qatar on 1st trip to Mideast - Global Times

Qatar on Wednesday welcomed the arrival of two giant pandas, under the first giant panda cooperation program between China and the Middle East region... The pandas have also been given two Arab names, Suhail for Jing Jing and Soraya for Si Hai, by Qatar... Under the agreement reached between China and Qatar, the panda couple will live in Qatar for 15 years.

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News Headlines - 21 October 2022

Google Fined Rs 1,337 Crore In India For Abusing Its Dominant Position

The Competition Commission of India, or CCI, tweeted it fined Google for "abusing dominant position in multiple markets in the Android mobile device ecosystem."
Google on Friday said the Indian antitrust watchdog's decision to fine the company for alleged anti-competitive practices was "a major setback for Indian consumers and businesses", and that it would review the decision to evaluate next steps.

Eight killed in suspected parcel bomb explosions at Myanmar’s Insein prison | The Guardian

At least eight people have been killed in explosions at Myanmar’s main prison for political detainees after two bombs exploded on Wednesday morning... The visitors were delivering parcels to prisoners when the explosion occurred at about 9.40am, according to News of Myanmar, an online news service sympathetic to the country’s military government.
The blasts occurred inside and outside the parcel reception office near the main iron gate of the prison in Yangon.

Court Discarded All Records of 1997 Kobe Serial Child Attacks - JIJI PRESS

All criminal records of a man over a series of attacks on children in Kobe, western Japan, in 1997 have been discarded by a local family court, it was learned Thursday.
Kobe Family Court said that why and when the records were discarded is unknown. The disposal of the records was inappropriate under current operational rules, the court in the Hyogo Prefecture capital said.
In the cases, five elementary school children were attacked in Kobe's Suma Ward between February and May of 1997, with two of them--a fourth-grade girl and a sixth-grade boy--murdered. The man in question was arrested at the age of 14, put on a juvenile trial at the court and sent to a juvenile medical treatment facility. He fully left the facility in 2005.

Dead yakuza boss referred to prosecutors for donating homes | The Asahi Shimbun

A former yakuza boss was found to have transferred assets that included two homes to a relative after a high court in a civil case ordered him to pay compensation to a swindling victim.
The Metropolitan Police Department concluded that the transactions by Isao Seki, who died in May at the age of 76, were aimed at avoiding seizure of his assets by the plaintiff. Police sent the case to prosecutors in September on charges of obstructing compulsory seizure.
Seki was a former leader of Sumiyoshi-kai, a group that police has designated as an organized crime syndicate.

Rengo sets high 5% pay-scale raise goal for spring ‘shunto’ | The Asahi Shimbun

Japan’s largest labor organization on Oct. 20 agreed to seek a 5-percent pay-scale raise in next spring’s “shunto” wage negotiations, its highest target in more than 25 years.
Rengo (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) said it took into account the recent hike in consumer prices that shrank real wages.
The latest pay-scale increase target is the highest since 1995, when Rengo sought a 5-to-6 percent wage hike.

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News Headlines - 20 October 2022

Church groups sought ‘policy pacts’ with LDP candidates | The Asahi Shimbun

Organizations affiliated with the Unification Church have asked lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to sign “policy pacts” in exchange for support in elections.
The Asahi Shimbun has learned that at least five LDP lawmakers were asked to sign such pacts before the 2021 Lower House election as well as the Upper House election held in July this year... The policies included in the pacts were slightly different depending on the lawmaker approached, but the objectives often included revising the Constitution, strengthening the national security framework, and remaining cautious about legalizing same-sex marriages and other issues related to sexual minorities.

Tokyo Olympic exec arrested 4th time in bribery scandal | The Asahi Shimbun

Haruyuki Takahashi, 78, was arrested for the fourth time on suspicion of receiving bribes in exchange for special consideration related to corporate sponsor operations and licensed product sales, according to the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office.
Three individuals related to the major advertising agency ADK Holdings Inc., including President Shinichi Ueno, were arrested on suspicion of providing about 14 million yen ($94,000) in bribes to Takahashi.
Takahashi is suspected of receiving a total of 47 million yen from ADK Holdings and about 7 million yen from Tokyo-based Sun Arrow Inc., which was chosen to manufacture and sell stuffed dolls based on the mascots for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Japanese musician Ringo Sheena's CD release postponed after goods designs come under fire - The Mainichi

Popular Japanese musician Ringo Sheena's new CD release has been postponed after the design of a freebie attached to the limited-edition version came under fire for resembling the "help mark" medical pictogram for people requiring assistance.
The CD's limited edition was also supposed to come with a mask case with the Red Cross emblem.
Universal Music LLC announced on Oct. 18 that it would postpone the CD's release to redesign free card cases and face mask sleeves to be given away with the album.

Koji Nakamoto, member of comedy group the Drifters, dies at 81 - The Mainichi

Koji Nakamoto, a member of the rock and roll band and comedy group the Drifters, died of acute subdural hematoma on Wednesday, his talent agency said. He was 81... The Drifters were popular for their sketches on the variety show "Hachijidayo! Zen'in shugo" (It's 8 o'clock! Everyone gather around), which aired nationally between 1969 and 1985.
He often showed off his gymnastic skills during his numerous comedy sketches.

Shohei Ohtani has 'rather negative impression' of Angels' season | FOX Sports

Japanese two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani arrived home Tuesday and was critical of his Los Angeles Angels team missing the Major League Baseball playoffs again.
In an interview at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, he said it was "a good season for me personally." Not so good for the Angels, though... "I have to say that August and September in particular felt longer to me than last year," Ohtani said, speaking in Japanese. "We were not able to play as many good games as we would like — including 14 consecutive losses. So I have a rather negative impression of this season."

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News Headlines - 19 October 2022

Suella Braverman forced to resign as UK home secretary | The Guardian

Suella Braverman has been forced to resign as UK home secretary, throwing Liz Truss’s premiership into further chaos and angering the Tory right... Braverman, a leading rightwinger, was sacked by the prime minister because she sent an official document from her personal email to a fellow MP, in a serious breach of ministerial rules... Braverman, in a brutal resignation letter that contrasted her actions with those of Truss, wrote: “Pretending we haven’t made mistakes, carrying on as if everyone can’t see that we have made them, and hoping that things will magically come right is not serious politics. I have made a mistake; I accept responsibility; I resign.

India's Congress elects first non-Gandhi chief in 24 years | Reuters

India's opposition Congress party declared veteran leader Mallikarjun Kharge its new chief on Wednesday, the first person from outside the influential Nehru-Gandhi family to hold the beleaguered party's presidency in 24 years.
Kharge, an 80-year-old from the lowest rung of India's caste system, is seen as a loyalist of the Gandhi family, which has produced three Indian prime ministers and is expected to retain its clout over the party.
The Congress hopes to revive its flagging fortunes with a new leader after losing two general elections and control of some state assemblies to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

PM lowers bar for Japan gov't to seek Unification Church disband order

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida lowered the bar for the Unification Church to be issued a dissolution order Wednesday, saying the government could request a court consider it if the controversial religious group is found to have violated civil law.
Kishida retracted remarks from a day earlier in which he said the government could request an order to dissolve the church only if an investigation determines it has engaged in acts that breach criminal law.
At a parliamentary session on Wednesday, Kishida said his administration decided on the new interpretation after taking into account recent court rulings involving the Unification Church and the experiences of those who claim to be victims of the group.

Yahoo! News to require mobile numbers to post any comments | The Asahi Shimbun: Breaking News, Japan News and Analysis

Yahoo Japan Corp. announced on Oct. 18 that only users who register their mobile phone numbers with its news website “Yahoo! News” will be able to post comments on news articles on the site... From 2019, the company has required users to register their mobile phone numbers when they open a new account.
However, accounts that were opened prior to the requirement can still post comments.
Since 2018, the company has checked comments using moderators or artificial intelligence and banned accounts from posting comments if the user repeatedly posts inappropriate comments... However, the company believes some people continue posting inappropriate comments using different accounts even after they are banned from posting comments on one account.

Japan's oldest toilet accidentally damaged by reversing driver | CNN

A building believed to house the oldest toilet in Japan faced its biggest threat in centuries on Monday when a conservation worker accidentally reversed his car into it, according to local officials.
Koudou Uno, a spokesman for the Tofukuji Temple in Kyoto, said the doors of the approximately 600-year-old wooden communal toilet were damaged in the incident.
A photo of the aftermath showed splintered pieces of wood strewn across the floor of the building in the former ancient capital, where the toilet was built at the temple in the first half of the Muromachi period (1336-1573), according to Uno.

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News Headlines - 18 October 2022

Kishida orders investigation into Unification Church activities | The Asahi Shimbun

In a rare move, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Oct. 17 instructed the education minister to investigate the Unification Church, a religious organization under heavy public criticism over its donation-collection methods... The investigation will be conducted based on the Religious Corporations Law, which grants government authorities the “right to question” such corporations. The investigation into the church will be the first using this right.

Tokyo Court Finds July Upper House Poll in Unconstitutional State - JIJI PRESS

Tokyo High Court on Tuesday ruled that Japan's House of Councillors election in July was held in a state of unconstitutionality in terms of vote-value disparity.
Still, Presiding Judge Yuji Watanabe rejected the demand of plaintiffs that the election results be nullified.
It is the second court ruling over vote-value disparity in the July 10 election for the upper chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament, after Osaka High Court also found last week that the poll was held in a state of unconstitutionality.

Japan to organize Sri Lanka creditors’ meeting over debt crisis - The Japan News

Japan is working to organize a meeting of Sri Lanka’s creditors by the end of this year in hopes of solving that country’s debt crisis, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
The meeting, which will discuss such issues as finding ways to reduce debt payments, aims to curb China’s influence by helping Sri Lanka cope with its so-called debt traps, which arose after China provided huge loans to the country to fund infrastructure developments and other projects.
Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe asked Japan for help during talks with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and other people during a visit to Japan at the end of September to attend the funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to Japanese government sources.

Man rearrested on suspicion of helping girl commit suicide | The Asahi Shimbun

A construction-related company worker suspected of abducting a junior high school student was rearrested on Oct. 17 in connection with her suicide in a mountainous area in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture... The girl’s body was found in a river in Sagamihara on Sept. 29. Police said they believe the student, who lived in Yokohama, committed suicide around Sept. 23. An autopsy was conducted, but the cause of death is unknown.

Late 'Yu-Gi-Oh!' creator Kazuki Takahashi hailed as hero after details of death emerge | The Japan Times

Kazuki Takahashi, the creator of the popular “Yu-Gi-Oh!” manga series who died in July, apparently died trying to rescue an American girl in the sea off Okinawa, coast guard officials said Friday.
The Japan Coast Guard refrained from making public any further details about the death of Takahashi after consultation with his bereaved family, believing that psychological care for the young survivor should take priority, they said.
Takahashi noticed the girl and her parents adrift in the sea off Onna when he was snorkeling on the afternoon of July 4, and rushed to help them along with two U.S. service members nearby.
The personnel rescued the girl and her parents managed to reach the shore by themselves, but Takahashi was apparently caught in a wave, the officials said.

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News Headlines - 17 October 2022

Putin courts Erdogan with plan to pump more Russian gas via Turkey | Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday that Moscow could export more gas via Turkey and turn it into a new supply "hub", bidding to preserve Russia's energy leverage over Europe.
At a meeting in Kazakhstan, Putin said Turkey offered the most reliable route to deliver gas to the European Union, and the proposed platform would allow prices to be set without politics.
Russia is looking to redirect supplies away from the Nord Stream Baltic gas pipelines, damaged in explosions last month that are still under investigation... Putin told Erdogan the hub would be "a platform not only for supplies, but also for determining the price, because this is a very important issue".

Ex-Japan SDF member receives apologies from her colleagues for sexual harassment | NHK WORLD

A former member of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force says her colleagues have apologized to her in person for past sexual harassment.
Gonoi Rina spoke to reporters in Tokyo on Monday after receiving apologies from four men earlier in the day... Gonoi said the four presented letters of apology to her and bowed many times. They told her they were also sorry for inflicting suffering on other female members of the force for a long time. She added that the four then expressed their intention to retire to take responsibility.

2 Tokyo national universities to merge, eyeing global competition

2 Tokyo national universities to merge, eyeing global competitionThe Tokyo Institute of Technology and the Tokyo Medical and Dental University said Friday they will merge into a new national university by the end of fiscal 2024, aiming to increase their global competitiveness in research.
The two universities, both considered top-tier in Japan within their respective fields, intend to apply for a government grant for the integration. The grant is part of the country's new 10 trillion yen ($68 billion) funding program to help universities generate internationally competitive research achievements.

Organized crime-linked group of 100 brawl at Tokyo skyscraper restaurant | The Japan Times

Police were called to a restaurant inside a Tokyo skyscraper Sunday after a mass brawl erupted among around 100 customers who appeared to be members of a group with links to organized crime... According to an investigative source, those involved in the commotion appeared to be members of Chinese Dragon, a gang comprised primarily of second- and third-generation descendants of Japanese orphans left behind in China when Japan withdrew from the country at the end of World War II.
Police have received information that the function was intended to celebrate a member’s release from prison. The scene was littered with broken beer bottles and glasses, police said, adding they are investigating the incident as a suspected case of property damage.
A restaurant clerk made an emergency call around 6:30 p.m. after the group started eating and drinking at about 6:00 p.m. and suddenly got into a fight, they said. There were no customers other than the dining party.

Kawata heroics help Kofu upset Sanfrecce to lift Emperor's Cup

Goalkeeper Kohei Kawata saved a penalty at the end of extra-time and another in the subsequent shootout to help J-League second-division outfit Ventforet Kofu stun heavy favorites Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the Emperor's Cup final on Sunday.
Kofu, currently 18th in the 22-team J2, clinched their first major silverware with the 5-4 penalty shootout victory after the final was deadlocked 1-1 through 120 minutes at Nissan Stadium... Traditionally played on New Year's Day, this year's Emperor's Cup final was brought forward to accommodate the 2022 World Cup, which kicks off Nov. 20 in Qatar.

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News Headlines - 16 October 2022

Huge fire at Iran’s Evin prison as Mahsa Amini protests continue | Al Jazeera

A fire that broke out at Tehran’s Elvin prison, where many of Iran’s political and dual-national detainees are held, has been extinguished, according to state media, with online videos and local media reporting gunshots.
State news agency IRNA said eight people were injured in Saturday’s blaze, as nationwide protests over the death in detention of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman entered a fifth week.

Iraqi parliament elects Abdul Latif Rashid as new president | Al Jazeera

Lawmakers in Iraq have elected Kurdish politician Abdul Latif Rashid as the country’s new president, paving the way for the formation of a new government and ending a year of deadlock, even as rockets landed near the parliament building.
Rashid replaced fellow Iraqi Kurd Barham Saleh as head of state after the two-round vote in parliament on Thursday, winning more than 160 votes against 99 for Saleh, an assembly official said. Saleh reportedly walked out of the parliament building as the votes were tallied.
Shia politician Mohammed Shia al-Sudani was quickly named prime minister-designate, assuming the task of reconciling feuding Shia factions and forming a government after a year of deadlock. Al-Sudani replaces caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi.

Palestinian rivals agree to hold elections but doubts persist | Reuters

Rival Palestinian factions signed an agreement in Algiers on Thursday aimed at resolving 15 years of discord by holding elections within a year after months of talks mediated by Algeria.
The deal aims to end a rift between President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement and the Islamist group Hamas that has split Palestinian governance in the Gaza Strip from the West Bank and hindered Palestinian ambitions of statehood... The division between Palestinian factions, triggered after Hamas won a legislative election in 2006, has prevented any further elections since then.
The Islamist group, which opposes peace with Israel, seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 while Abbas' Western-backed Palestinian Authority stayed dominant in the West Bank.

Japan's new anti-suicide guidelines offer more support for women | NHK WORLD

The new guidelines approved by the Cabinet on Friday say the overall number of suicides has been declining. But they also say the issue remains urgent, as more than 20,000 people in Japan take their own lives each year.
The guidelines note that the number of women who kill themselves has been on the rise since 2020. The coronavirus pandemic is cited as a factor behind the trend.
The outlined measures include promoting assistance for people who unexpectedly become pregnant, as well as helping non-regular workers and child-rearing mothers to find jobs.

Fujifilm gives up developing Avigan drug for COVID-19 treatment | The Japan Times

Fujifilm Holdings has said it has stopped development of its anti-viral drug Avigan for treating COVID-19, saying it was unable to confirm its effectiveness in a clinical trial.
Avigan, initially developed as a drug for influenza, emerged as a potential treatment for the coronavirus during the early stages of the pandemic... Fujifilm said it will withdraw from the government's approval process after finding no significant results from the analysis of the clinical data.

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News Headlines - 15 October 2022

Japan to scrap current non-digital health insurance cards in 2024

The Japanese government said Thursday it will scrap in principle health insurance cards in fall 2024 and integrate them into the "My Number" national identification system.
According to the plan, My Number cards will become mandatory as Japan's health insurance system covers all residents. The move is part of efforts to promote cards issued under the ID system, which has proven unpopular with only half the population currently carrying them.
The government will also consider moving up the date for integrating driver's licenses into the system from the current goal of the end of fiscal 2024, Digital Minister Taro Kono told a press conference.

Prefectural Funeral for Ex-PM Abe Held in Yamaguchi - JIJI PRESS

A Yamaguchi prefectural funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was held Saturday in the western Japan prefecture, which includes Abe's constituency.
The funeral, held in the city of Shimonoseki, was hosted by an organizing committee comprising the prefectural government and the prefectural chapter of the Liberal Democratic Party, as well as the Abe family and his support group.
Some 2,000 people from Yamaguchi and elsewhere attended the event, in which Abe's wife, Akie, the chief mourner, made a speech.

Amway Japan gets suspension order for illegal marketing act | The Asahi Shimbun

The Consumer Affairs Agency issued a partial business suspension order of six months to Amway Japan for illegally recruiting a new member under its network marketing system.
It marked the first time for Amway Japan to receive an administrative order about its sales practices.
According to the agency’s Oct. 14 announcement, two members met a woman through a matching app in March 2021 and pestered her to register without explaining it was for membership in Amway Japan.

France says Iranian drone transfers to Russia would violate U.N. nuclear deal resolution | Reuters

France's foreign ministry said on Thursday that any transfer of Iranian drones to Russia would be a violation of the United Nations Security Council resolution that endorsed the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and world powers... "We note a great deal of information that reports the use of Iranian drones by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine, in bombardments that were aimed at civilian targets and which likely constitute war crimes," foreign ministry spokesperson Anne-Claire Legendre said in a daily online briefing.
"Such a supply of Iranian drones to Russia would also violate United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231."

Iran protests: Fury over police sex assault video - BBC News

A video of anti-riot forces in Iran sexually assaulting a female protester whilst trying to arrest her has provoked fury on social media.
Users voiced outrage, with many calling for "justice" and the resignation of the police chief. Some pro-government users also condemned the perpetrators.
Despite blocks on some social media tools, Iranians are still managing to share powerful images of the protests.

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News Headlines - 14 October 2022

LDP faction formerly led by Abe fails to launch new leadership team | The Japan Times

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s biggest faction, previously led by slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on Thursday decided to maintain the current leadership team and keep the post of chairman vacant for now.
Some faction members had called for promoting acting Chairman Ryu Shionoya to the position to succeed Abe, but young and middle-ranking members voiced their opposition, sources said.

Ex-PM Abe' State Funeral Cost 1.24 B. Yen - JIJI PRESS

Last month's state funeral for slain former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cost 1.24 billion yen, lower than the government's estimate of 1.66 billion yen, the government said Friday.
The funeral cost less than projected by the government as foreign guests stayed for shorter periods than expected, leading to lower spending on security and costs for receiving foreign guests.

Kyushu Electric applies to extend operation of Sendai nuclear plant reactors | NHK WORLD

Kyushu Electric Power Company has applied to extend the operation of two aging reactors for another 20 years at its Sendai Nuclear Power Station in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan.
The operational life span of nuclear reactors in Japan has been limited to 40 years in principle since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in 2011.
The No.1 reactor at the Sendai plant will be 40 years old in July 2024, and the No.2 reactor will reach that age in November 2025.

Japanese man returns home after 6 years in Chinese jail on spying charges - The Japan News

A Japanese man arrested in China on charges of spying has finished his six-year prison sentence and returned to Japan on Tuesday.
Eiji Suzuki, a former head of the Japan-China youth exchange association, had been involved in bilateral exchanges since the early 1980s.
He was arrested in 2016 on charges that he was involved in espionage... The 65-year-old said he thinks he was detained “on the basis of the deterioration in relations between Japan and China.”

Pink diamond sells for record $57.7M at Hong Kong auction | AP News

A pink diamond was sold for $57.7 million in Hong Kong on Oct. 7, setting a world record for the highest price per carat for a diamond sold at auction.
The 11.15-carat Williamson Pink Star, auctioned by Sotheby’s Hong Kong, fetched close to $5.2 million per carat, exceeding the previous record of $4 million for a blue diamond sold in 2015.
The buyer was a private collector in the United States, Sotheby’s said.

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News Headlines - 13 October 2022

Chinese government removes rare protest banners in Beijing - Nikkei Asia

Beijing authorities removed rare banners of political protest from an overpass in the Chinese capital, according to images circulated widely on social media on Thursday, just days before the start of a twice-in-a-decade Communist Party congress.
The banners bore several slogans, including a call for President Xi Jinping's ouster and an end to strict COVID-19 policies, according to numerous images and videos circulated on Twitter, which is blocked in China... The incident comes at a very sensitive time in the Chinese capital, with authorities on high alert in the run-up to the 20th congress of the ruling Communist Party, where Xi is expected to secure a third leadership term.

LDP punishes party veteran for calling Abe a ‘traitor’ | The Asahi Shimbun

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has barred Seiichiro Murakami, a former Cabinet minister, from taking official party posts as punishment for calling slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a “traitor” to Japan.
The LDP’s Party Discipline Committee decided on the yearlong suspension against Murakami, former minister of administrative reform, at a meeting on the afternoon of Oct. 12.
The committee said Murakami’s remarks about Abe “harmed a party member’s dignity.”

Ghibli Park in central Japan offers peek to media ahead of Nov. 1 opening - The Mainichi

Three areas of the new Studio Ghibli Inc. theme park, including depictions from popular films including "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Whisper of the Heart," were fully unveiled for the first time at a media preview on Oct. 12.
The violin workshop inside the "World Emporium" at Ghibli Park, which was shown to the press before the park's official Nov. 1 opening, is seen in Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture, on Oct. 12, 2022. (C) Studio Ghibli (Mainichi/Koji Hyodo)
Ghibli Park is slated to open partially at Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park in Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture, on Nov. 1 this year. It will eventually have five areas, spread over an approximately 7.1-hectare site.

Possible human bones found near Universal Studios Japan theme park - Japan Today

A Universal Studios Japan worker found what appeared to be human bones near the amusement park's premises in Osaka on Wednesday, police said.
The remains, including what could be part of a human skull, were found in shrubbery along a road west of the premises, separated from the theme park's attractions.

Lebanon’s president approves historic Israel maritime border deal | Al Jazeera

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has announced his country’s acceptance of the US-brokered maritime border deal with Israel, saying talks had come to “a positive end”.
The deal represents a “historic achievement” in which Lebanon regains 860sq km (332sq miles) of disputed maritime territory in the Mediterranean Sea that is home to offshore gasfields, Aoun said on Thursday.

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News Headlines - 12 October 2022

Japan Epsilon rocket launch fails, self-destruct command sent

A Japanese satellite-carrying rocket failed at launch on Wednesday, with the country's space agency ordering the Epsilon launch vehicle to self-destruct just minutes after liftoff as it deviated from its intended trajectory.
The development marked Japan's first rocket launch failure since November 2003, when an H2A rocket was deliberately destroyed shortly after liftoff and dealt a blow to an agency looking to expand its uptake of commercial satellites for its launches.

Japan to mandate safety devices in 44,000 buses after kid's death - The Mainichi

The Japanese government decided Wednesday to make it mandatory from next April to install safety devices in approximately 44,000 buses used by kindergartens and child care facilities nationwide after a toddler was left alone inside a kindergarten bus and died from heatstroke.
Any kindergarten or child care facility found in violation of the new mandate will be ordered to suspend operations, and manuals for staff will be written to ensure children are safely supervised.

Japan YouTuber Diet member's prolonged overseas absence opens can of legal worms - The Mainichi

Japanese YouTuber "GaaSyy," who was elected to Japan's House of Councillors on the ticket of the NHK Party, remains overseas and has not attended Diet sessions, with reports earlier this year that he was residing in Dubai. The head of the chamber's Committee on Rules and Administration has requested that he quickly return to Japan and appear in the Diet.
Many people may think that GaaSyy, whose real name is Yoshikazu Higashitani, should step down as a Diet member if he has no record of activities in his elected role. If he continues to remain absent it is possible that the upper house Committee on Discipline could discuss punishment including expelling him as a member of the chamber. But this is no simple matter.

Japan lawyers' group requests court order to dissolve Unification Church - The Mainichi

A lawyers' group in Japan supporting former followers of the Unification Church has requested that the justice and education ministers, as well as the prosecutor-general, demand that a court order the religious group to dissolve.
The National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales posted the requests by mail on Oct. 11. The attorneys' group told a news conference in Tokyo later that day that the Unification Church's numerous organized illegal acts, including coerced donations, have been recognized in civil lawsuits.

Chile's Senate greenlights CPTPP agreement — MercoPress

Chile's Upper House Tuesday ratified by 27 votes in favor, 10 against and 1 abstention, the country's joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) which is expected to generate annual revenues of US$ 1.2 billion, it was announced.
Chile was the only signatory to confirm its accession to one of the largest free trade agreements in the world, comprising nearly 500 million people (13% of the world's GDP). The documents are now up to President Gabriel Boric Font for the proper enactment... Regarding the enactment, Urrejola explained that ”the President has decided to wait for the progress of the side letters before ratifying the agreement.”

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News Headlines - 11 October 2022

Elon Musk's Starlink launches satellite internet service in Japan - Nikkei Asia

U.S. entrepreneur Elon Musk's SpaceX announced on Tuesday the launch of its Starlink internet service in Japan, making the country the first in Asia to deploy the satellite-based system.
Starlink will tap into demand from mountainous areas and remote islands suffering from spotty or hard-to-access internet service.

Shizuoka Pref. begins removing soil mounds left after deadly Atami mudslide | NHK WORLD

Shizuoka Prefecture in central Japan has begun removing mounds of soil that remain after last year's deadly mudslide in Atami City.
The July mudslide left 27 people dead and one person missing.
More than 20,000 cubic meters of soil was estimated to remain where the mudslide originated.

Malaysia PM dissolves parliament for early general election

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Monday that the king has consented for parliament to be dissolved, setting the stage for a general election in the coming weeks, as his ruling party seeks to strengthen its position.
Ismail Sabri's United Malays National Organization, which has ruled since independence, hopes to redeem itself after its spectacular defeat in the last election in 2018.

Shopping, hotel complex linked to Haneda Airport to open Dec. 21 | The Asahi Shimbun

A complex connected to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport that offers shopping, a hotel and a natural hot spring with a view of Mount Fuji is set to open on Dec. 21.
Haneda Airport Garden was initially scheduled to open in April 2020 immediately before the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. However, the opening was postponed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic... The 12-story complex will directly connect to the airport’s international terminal, or Terminal 3.
It includes a hotel with 1,717 rooms, one of the largest in Japan on an airport site, and a commercial facility containing about 90 stores, including souvenir shops and restaurants, as well as a hall with a capacity of around 1,000 people.

Tourists flock to Japan after COVID restrictions lifted | Al Jazeera

Eager to admire colourful foliage, eat sushi and go shopping, droves of tourists from abroad have started arriving in Japan for the first day of lifted border restrictions, which had been in place for more than two years to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
Travellers are expected to deliver a sorely needed 5 trillion yen ($35bn) boost to the world’s third-largest economy after Tokyo on Tuesday lifted most of its remaining pandemic-related border restrictions. And the flood of visitors is expected to keep growing.
The daily cap of 50,000 arrivals is gone. Airlines have added flights to respond to the full reopening of borders. Visa-free travel is back for short-term business and tourism from more than 60 nations.

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News Headlines - 10 October 2022

Japan's H1 excess mortality highest since COVID-19 pandemic, research estimates-Xinhua

The number of excess deaths in Japan was estimated to have reached between 17,000 and 46,000 in the first six months of the year, the highest figure since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, local research data showed.
The estimates were compiled by organizations including the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, an institution under the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
According to statistics from the ministry and Kyodo News, Japan's total number of deaths during the six-month period came in at 777,000, and more than 12,800 people died from COVID-19 infections, Kyodo News reported.
Experts believed that apart from direct deaths due to COVID-19, the increase in excess mortality can also be attributed to deaths indirectly caused by the pandemic, citing deaths from other diseases due to the inability to access medical institutions and worsened chronic illnesses due to lifestyle changes, as well as suicides due to economic hardships, the media reported.

Thailand to deport CNN reporters who filmed childcare massacre site without permission

Thailand will deport two CNN journalists who reported without permission from inside a day care facility, where at least 38 people, including 22 children, were massacred last Thursday, local media reported on Monday.
CNN came under fire after Australian reporter Anna Coren and British cameraman Daniel Hodge filmed footage on Friday – which has since been taken down – of the blood-stained floor inside the day care center. They were accused of climbing over police tape to get their footage.
Citing Thai migration sources, Thaipbsworld news outlet reported that the journalists entered the country on tourist visa which would not allow them to work.

Chinese university investigates hypersonic scientist’s on-screen kiss | South China Morning Post

An elite Chinese university is investigating a top scientist involved in the country’s hypersonic weapons programme after footage of him being kissed by a woman was uploaded to the internet... It is not clear when the meeting took place, but the video started to be shared widely on Sunday.
The woman is believed to be a postdoctoral researcher, but her identity has not been independently verified by the South China Morning Post.

Google Pixel event: Tech giant unveils new smartphones and its first smartwatch | CNN Business

Google on Thursday unveiled its new Pixel 7 smartphone lineup and its first-ever Pixel smartwatch, packed with tracking and health features from its subsidiary Fitbit.
At a press event in New York City, Google showed off the new Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro devices, which largely look the same as the year prior but with new camera features, an improved screen and battery, and an updated Google Tensor processor.

Man arrested for abandoning body of female uni. student in Japan's Hokkaido

A 53-year-old man was arrested Monday on suspicion of abandoning the body of a female university student at his home in Sapporo, Hokkaido, over the weekend.
Isamu Ono has admitted to the charge and made statements implying that he also killed the woman, according to Hokkaido police, who said the woman was strangled and died around Tuesday.

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News Headlines - 09 October 2022

U.S. Believes Ukrainians Were Behind a Killing in Russia - The New York Times

U.S. intelligence agencies believe that parts of the Ukrainian government signed off on the car bomb attack near Moscow in August that killed Daria Dugina, the daughter of a prominent Russian nationalist.
An assessment about Ukrainian complicity was shared within the U.S. government last week and has not been previously reported. Specifics about the operation remained scant: American officials did not disclose which elements of the Ukrainian government were believed to have authorized the mission, who carried out the attack or whether President Volodymyr Zelensky had cleared it.
Ukraine has denied involvement in the assassination.

'Whole Families' Among 180 Bodies Found in Mass Grave in Lyman: Ukraine

Ukrainian officials say that at least 180 bodies, including "whole families" with young children, have been discovered in a mass grave in Lyman less than one week after troops reclaimed the formerly Russian-occupied city.
Yevhen Zhukov, head of the patrol department of Ukraine's National Police, announced the discovery on Friday in a message posted to a Telegram account that he operates under the call sign "Marshal," according to the state-owned media outlet Ukrinform.

Chile permanently closes mining areas connected to giant sinkhole | Reuters

Chile's mining minister announced on Friday the permanent closure of mining stopes directly related to a giant sinkhole that appeared in the northern part of the country in July.
Mining minister Marcela Hernando made the announcement after meeting with union members, mine workers and technical experts studying the sinkhole... The minister added that the government is working on recovering water from an aquifer that was damaged by the sinkhole.

Yayoi Kusama pumpkin sculpture returns to Japan island after typhoon damage - The Mainichi

A popular pumpkin art piece by contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama that was destroyed by a typhoon in August 2021 is back on display here, to the delight of locals.
The Oct. 4 reappearance of the artwork, a symbol of an art island in west Japan, drew applause from onlookers. Titled "Pumpkin," the sculpture is one of the outdoor pieces of Benesse Art Site Naoshima, and stands on a pier facing the Seto Inland Sea. The 2-meter-high, 2.5-meter-wide fiber-reinforced plastic sculpture, with its distinctive yellow pumpkin motif, remains a favorite of many tourists,

Aaron Judge crushes AL record, home run No. 62 in Game 161 | FOX Sports

Judge broke a tie with Roger Maris and now owns the American League single-season home run record after crushing his 62nd homer of the year to left field on a 1-1 slider from Rangers right-hander Jesus Tinoco on Tuesday at Globe Life Field.
The Yankees' slugger tied Maris’ previous AL record of 61 home runs on Sept. 28 in Toronto. Judge was then homerless in five games and 17 at-bats leading up to Tuesday’s big blast. He tied Babe Ruth’s mark of 60 home runs against the Pirates on Sept. 20 at Yankee Stadium.

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News Headlines - 08 October 2022

Unification Church tries to halt ex-member’s news conference | The Asahi Shimbun

The Unification Church on Oct. 7 tried to stop a news conference being held in Tokyo by a former member who described the huge donations she and her parents had to make while members of what is now known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.
The news conference was held at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan and the woman in her 20s used the pseudonym of Sayuri Ogawa.

Ex-PM Noda to Deliver Memorial Speech for Abe at Diet | JIJI PRESS

Former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, a lawmaker of the leading opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, is set to deliver a memorial speech for slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Diet, the country's parliament.
Noda is expected to give the speech at a plenary meeting of the House of Representatives, the lower chamberof the Diet, late this month.

Japan's lower house chief denies electoral support by religious group

Japan's lower house chief Hiroyuki Hosoda has denied receiving support from the controversial Unification Church in past elections but revealed additional meetings with the group, a lawmaker said Friday, deepening skepticism about how close he has been to it.
In a statement released in late September, Hosoda had admitted to taking part in four gatherings between 2018 and 2019 hosted by the religious organization, which some consider a cult, and its affiliated groups.

Mizuho Securities to buy 20% of Rakuten Securities for $550 million | Reuters

Mizuho Financial Group's securities unit will acquire a 19.99% stake in Rakuten Securities from its parent Rakuten Group for 80 billion yen ($552 million) to beef up its online brokerage business, the companies said on Friday.

CCC, Sumitomo Mitsui Announce Point Program Integration - JIJI PRESS

Japan's Culture Convenience Club Co. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. said Monday that they have reached a basic agreement to merge their loyalty point programs... The integrated program will be launched under a new name around spring 2024.

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News Headlines - 07 October 2022

Another teenage girl dead at hands of Iran’s security forces, reports claim | The Guardian

Reports are emerging of the death of another teenage girl at the hands of security forces in Iran, as protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini looked set to enter their third week.
Sarina Esmailzadeh, a 16-year-old who posted popular vlogs on YouTube, was killed when the security forces beat her with batons at a protest in Gohardasht in Alborz province on 23 September, according to Amnesty International.

Three senior Islamic State militants killed in US strikes in Syria | The Guardian

Early on Thursday, US special forces carried out the rare operation on the government-held village of Muluk Saray in the north-eastern province of Hasakeh, Syrian state television said in its Telegram channel.
The US military’s Central Command said the target was Rakkan Wahid al-Shammri, an Islamic State member “known to facilitate the smuggling of weapons and fighters.” It said he was killed during the operation, while one of his associates was wounded and two others detained by US forces.

Japan regulator orders SMBC Nikko to halt block trading for 3 months - Nikkei Asia

Japan's financial regulator on Friday ordered SMBC Nikko Securities to halt its block trade business for three months and to improve its compliance, as administrative penalties over a market manipulation case.
The Financial Service Agency also ordered the brokerage's parent, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG), to improve the group's compliance.

Four resign over scandal at Toyota unit Hino, others to return pay | Reuters

Toyota Motor Corp's truck- and bus-making unit Hino Motors said on Friday four officials would step down and it would demand the return of some compensation from past managers, following an engine data scandal.
Three executives overseeing production and compliance and a senior official in charge of technology development would resign, Hino said in a statement... The firm will also demand the return of some compensation from former managers in roles from 2003, and others identified in a company-commissioned investigation report as being involved in a problematic environment.
Current president Satoshi Ogiso, who long worked for Toyota and took the role in 2021, will keep his position but return half his compensation every month for six months. Others face pay cuts up to 30% for three months or demotion.

Easter Island fire chars famous towering Moai statues, arson suspected

A forest fire that ripped through part of Easter Island this week has charred some of its towering iconic carved stone figures, Chilean officials reported.
The blaze broke out Monday and swept through at least 247 acres of the Rapa Nui National Park, which covers a little less than half of the island, officials there said.
"The damage to some of the giant head statues is “irreparable and with consequences beyond what your eyes can see,” Ariki Tepano, director of the administration and maintenance of the park, wrote on Facebook Wednesday.

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News Headlines - 06 October 2022

Dozens killed in massacre at Thai day care center | The Japan Times

A former policeman killed 34 people, including 23 children, during a knife and gun rampage at a day care center in northeastern Thailand on Thursday, police said, before later shooting dead his wife and child at home and turning his weapon on himself... Police identified the attacker as a former member of the force who was dismissed from his post last year over drug allegations and he was facing trial on a drugs charge.
The man had been in court earlier in the day and had then gone to the day care center to collect his child, police spokesperson Paisal Luesomboon told broadcaster ThaiPBS.
When he did not find his child there, he began the killing spree, Paisal said.

Japanese Filmmaker to Serve 7 Years in Myanmar Prison - JIJI PRESS

Japanese documentary filmmaker Toru Kubota will serve seven years in prison in Myanmar after he was found guilty to two sets of charges, Myanmar military officials said Thursday.
A Myanmar court on Wednesday sentenced Kubota to seven years for violating a law on electronic communications and three years for sedition.

Police confirm body found in Chiba is missing first-grader | The Asahi Shimbun

Prefectural police have identified the body of a young girl found on Oct. 4 on the banks of the Edogawa river as Saya Minami, a 7-year-old who went missing about two weeks ago.
Police conducted DNA analysis and found a match between the body and the parents of the elementary school first-grader.

South Korea, U.S. fire missiles to protest 'reckless' North Korean test | Reuters

South Korea and the U.S. military conducted rare missile drills and an American supercarrier repositioned east of North Korea after Pyongyang flew a missile over Japan, one of the allies' sharpest responses since 2017 to a North Korean weapon test.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that nuclear-armed North Korea risked further condemnation and isolation if it continued its "provocations."

Ugandan president apologises for son’s tweets on annexing Kenya | Al Jazeera

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has apologised to Kenya after his son, a general, tweeted threats to invade the neighbouring country and capture its capital in two weeks.
“I ask our Kenyan brothers and sisters to forgive us for tweets sent by General Muhoozi,” Museveni said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that public officers should not interfere in the affairs of other countries.

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News Headlines - 05 October 2022

No memorial for Abe at Nara site where he was shot dead | The Asahi Shimbun

No memorial will be erected to mark the spot where former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot to death while campaigning here in July for the Upper House election.
Instead, the city government intends to go ahead with an existing plan to redevelop the area, citing safety reasons... According to city government sources, three options were on table: creating a green space at the center of road reconstruction work, which includes the site where Abe was gunned down, expanding an existing pedestrian road and erecting a memorial, or proceeding with the redevelopment plan without putting up a memorial.

Kishida appoints eldest son as his executive secretary - Japan Today

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has appointed his eldest son as an executive secretary to him, the government said Tuesday, triggering a backlash from the opposition bloc... The move came as public support ratings for Kishida's cabinet have plunged recently, while he marked the first anniversary of taking office on Tuesday.

Japan apologizes for J-Alert malfunction after N. Korea launch

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno apologized Wednesday for the malfunctioning of the government's J-Alert early warning system in nine of Tokyo's island towns and villages after a North Korean ballistic missile launch the previous day.
North Korea on Tuesday morning launched a ballistic missile over the Japanese archipelago for the first time in five years. Information about the launch was mistakenly sent to residents of the towns and villages, although the missile did not fly over the communities.

Pakistan out of money for flood recovery, UN boosts aid request- minister | Reuters

Pakistan is out of money to spend on recovery from devastating floods, its climate change minister said on Tuesday, urging prompt international help at the U.N. launch of an aid appeal as funds needed by the country were ramped up five-fold.
The United Nations revised up its humanitarian aid appeal for Pakistan five-fold to $816 million from $160 million, as a surge of water-borne diseases and fear of growing hunger pose new dangers after weeks of unprecedented flooding linked to climate warming.
The meeting was told that the U.N has received only $90 million so far out of the $160-million previous appeal for aid.

Iran denies girl, 16, was killed in protests as her death sparks new furor | The Times of Israel

The disappearance and death of a 16-year-old girl who was protesting the regime in Tehran has unleashed a fresh outpouring of anger on Iranian social media, as the demonstrations continue.
Reports on social media claimed security forces killed her, but the judiciary on Wednesday rejected the allegations.
Nika Shakarami, who lived in the capital with her mother, vanished September 20 during the protests in Tehran, her uncle Kianoush Shakarami told Iran’s Tasnim news agency. She was missing for a week before her lifeless body was found.

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News Headlines - 04 October 2022

North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan for first time since 2017 | The Japan Times

North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan for the first time since 2017 on Tuesday, the government said, a dramatic escalation that prompted Tokyo to issue a rare alert for residents to take cover.
Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said the weapon, believed to be a Hwasong-12 IRBM, flew 4,600 kilometers — the longest distance ever traveled by a North Korean missile — flying for about one minute over Aomori Prefecture before eventually landing in the Pacific Ocean some 3,200 km from Japan.

Ex-Unification Church to cap cash donations by members | NHK WORLD

A religious group previously known as the Unification Church says it will cap the amount of cash donations from its members in Japan to 30 percent of their monthly income... But the group came under criticism due to a lack of concrete measures.

SoftBank-Backed Servicer of a Kabbage Portfolio Goes Bankrupt Amid Fraud Probes - The Washington Post

SoftBank-backed small business loan servicer KServicing filed for bankruptcy after the company, which holds old loans made by online lender Kabbage, was weighed down by allegations of overly lax lending under the US government’s Paycheck Protection Program.
KServicing is in the process of winding down after Kabbage’s teams and technology were sold to American Express Co. about two years ago for around $750 million. KServicing’s business now mostly consists of servicing a $1.3 billion portfolio of Covid-era small business loans backstopped by the federal government, court papers show.

Nara police falsely accused officer of stealing live cartridges | NHK WORLD

The Nara Nishi Police Station in January disclosed that it had lost five handgun cartridges.
It later turned out that the person in charge at prefectural police headquarters mistakenly had fewer cartridges than usual delivered to the station.
An officer in his 20s was accused of theft and interrogated over a number of days... Audio recordings released by his lawyer demonstrate that the officer was bombarded with comments such as, "We know you did it," "You're the only one who could have done it," and "It's clear you're a criminal."

Japan high school teacher's slap dislocates female student's jaw - The Mainichi

A girls' high school teacher in this western Japan city who slapped a student in rage, dislocating her jaw, will face a disciplinary hearing, the school announced on Oct. 3.
The 41-year-old male teacher at Himeji International School, who serves as an adviser for the softball club at the institution's high school division, allegedly slapped the cheek of a 16-year-old first-year student belonging to the club after learning she forgot to bring a jersey.
The teen has had difficulty opening her mouth since the assault, and was diagnosed with traumatic trismus that will require a month to completely heal.

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News Headlines - 03 October 2022

In Brazil's election, Lula won more votes but will face Bolsonaro in a runoff : NPR

A day after an inconclusive presidential election, Brazil is now bracing for a frantic four-week campaign ahead of a runoff vote that will pit leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva against Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right incumbent president.
Official returns from Sunday's first round showed da Silva, a former two-term president universally known as Lula, with 48.4% compared to 43.2% for Bolsonaro. The remaining votes went to nine other candidates.
Da Silva needed to get more than half of the votes to avoid a head-to-head matchup against Bolsonaro, who proved far stronger than public opinion polls had predicted. The two are now slated to meet in an Oct. 30 runoff.

Biden to storm-hit Puerto Rico: 'All of America's with you' | Reuters

President Joe Biden on Monday pledged more than $60 million in aid to help U.S. territory Puerto Rico and said more money was coming, as he sought to present a more compassionate image than his predecessor, Donald Trump, while surveying damage from Hurricane Fiona.
Soon after arriving with his wife, Jill Biden, the president met with victims of the hurricane, which left Puerto Rico without power for an extended period. Biden will travel to Florida on Wednesday to see damage from Hurricane Ian.

Ousted Burkina Faso leader leaves country for Togo | AP News

Burkina Faso’s ousted coup leader Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba left the country for Togo Sunday two days after he himself was overthrown in a coup, while the new junta urged citizens not to loot or vandalize.
Damiba’s departure was confirmed by two diplomats who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. It was not known whether Togo was his final destination.

Minister Yamagiwa Admits He Met Head of Unification Church - JIJI PRESS

Japanese economic revitalization minister Daishiro Yamagiwa admitted on Monday that he met the top leader of the religious group known as the Unification Church when he attended a meeting hosted by the group in 2018... In the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's internal survey, Yamagiwa had erroneously reported that the meeting was organized by a Unification Church-related body, not the group itself.

Baseball: Munetaka Murakami celebrates youngest Triple Crown with 56th homer - The Mainichi

Yakult Swallows third baseman Munetaka Murakami became Nippon Professional Baseball's youngest Triple Crown winner at 22 on Monday, topping the Central League with a .318 batting average, 56 home runs and 134 RBIs... Murakami's 56th homer of the year broke a tie with Japan's career home run leader Sadaharu Oh, Tuffy Rhodes and Alex Cabrera for lone second on the all-time single-season home run list.

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News Headlines - 02 October 2022

UK cabinet was not informed of plans to scrap top rate of tax, Truss says

British Prime Minister Liz Truss said on Sunday her cabinet of top ministers was not informed in advance that the government planned to abolish the top rate of tax, adding it was a decision taken by finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng... Asked whether all her cabinet was told of the move, Truss told the BBC: "No, no we didn’t. It was a decision that the chancellor made."
Truss said: "When budgets are developed, they are developed in a very confidential way. They are very market sensitive. Of course, the cabinet is briefed, but it is never the case on budgets that they are created by the whole cabinet."

Former Japan political bigwig Masayoshi Takemura dies at 88 | The Japan Times

Former Japanese political heavyweight Masayoshi Takemura, who served as chief Cabinet secretary and finance minister, died Wednesday. He was 88.
Takemura played a major role in the Japanese political world in the first half of the 1990s, after the collapse of the so-called 1955 system featuring one-party rule by the Liberal Democratic Party.

Kowa says ivermectin not effective in treating COVID-19 | The Japan Times

A clinical trial was unable to prove the efficacy of the antiparasitic medicine ivermectin against coronavirus variants, according to Japanese drugmaker Kowa Co., which has indicated that it will no longer seek approval for the drug as a COVID-19 treatment.
The Nagoya-based pharmaceutical and trading company announced the results of a randomized, double-blind, international clinical trial on Sept. 26. In the trial, 1,030 patients with mild COVID-19 were orally administered the drug daily for three days and then compared to others given a placebo.
Ivermectin was found to be safe and few people given the drug developed severe symptoms, Kowa said. But both the group given the drug and the one administered a placebo saw improvements in symptoms, meaning the trial did not show the drug’s efficacy over the placebo as a COVID-19 treatment.

Burkina Faso coup: Ousted military leader Damiba ‘resigns’ | Al Jazeera

Burkina Faso’s overthrown military chief agreed to step down two days after army officers announced his deposition in the country’s second coup in a year.
Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba “offered his resignation in order to avoid confrontations with serious human and material consequences”, according to a statement on Sunday by mediators.

125 die as tear gas triggers crush at Indonesia soccer match - The Mainichi

Panic and a chaotic run for exits after police fired tear gas at an Indonesian soccer match to drive away fans upset with their team's loss left at least 125 dead, most of whom were trampled upon or suffocated, making it one of the deadliest sports events in the world.
Attention immediately focused on the police use of tear gas, and witnesses described police beat them with sticks and shields before shooting canisters directly into the crowds.

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News Headlines - 01 October 2022

LDP lawmaker's newly uncovered links to Unification Church take total to 180 | The Japan Times

Another lawmaker in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has been found to have links to the controversial religious group known as the Unification Church, the LDP has announced.
The news, released Friday, brought the total number of LDP lawmakers with ties with the church to 180. The name of the newly found lawmaker was not disclosed.
An additional survey by the LDP also revealed new connections between the church and 11 of its lawmakers who had already been found to have links to the group.

Japan pro wrestler and ex-lawmaker Antonio Inoki dies at 79 - Nikkei Asia

Antonio Inoki, a distinguished professional wrestler who took on world boxing champion Muhammad Ali in 1976 and made numerous trips to North Korea as a lawmaker, died of heart failure Saturday, his management agency said. He was 79.
Inoki, whose real name was Kanji Inoki, was also a pioneer in mixed martial arts, staging audacious battles between top wrestlers and champions from other combat sports such as judo and karate before he entered the international spotlight with his fight against Ali.

Thai court rules prime minister can stay in office | The Japan Times

Thailand's Constitutional Court on Friday ruled Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has not exceeded the maximum eight years allowed in office, paving the way for his return from a five-week suspension.
The court announced its decision in a case filed by the opposition Pheu Thai party, which had sought clarity on whether Prayut's time as leader of a junta formed after a coup he led eight years ago should count in his overall tally.

Countering China, the U.S. Signs a Broad Deal to Aid Pacific Nations - The New York Times

The United States and 14 Pacific Island nations signed a broad partnership agreement on Thursday at a summit in Washington, putting climate change, economic growth and stronger security ties at the center of an American push to counter Chinese influence in the region... Much of the money would be for climate resilience and maritime security, including a $600 million request to Congress related to a decades-old fisheries treaty that allows the United States to catch tuna in South Pacific waters.
But the package also includes a few interesting bonbons — a $20 million grant to the Solomon Islands for tourism development, $3.5 million for digital connectivity in the country and $2.8 million for F.B.I.-led law enforcement training.

How Bella Hadid's spray-painted dress works - 9Style

Bella Hadid left audiences stunned as she closed Coperni's Spring/Summer 2023 show at Paris Fashion Week almost completely nude. But that wasn't even the most shocking part.
Audiences were in awe as technicians approached her with spray guns loaded with a silver liquid, which were then sprayed onto her body, drying down to become a jersey-like fabric.

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News Headlines - 30 September 2022

Putin’s mobilization order sends 200,000 Russians fleeing across borders | The Japan Times

At least 200,000 Russians left the country after President Vladimir Putin’s mobilization order, in an exodus that’s causing turmoil at borders and stirring fears in neighboring states about potential instability.
While Russia hasn’t released official data, statistics from Georgia, Kazakhstan and the European Union show the scale of the departures. The total is likely an underestimate as other nearby countries popular with Russians including Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey haven’t disclosed arrival figures.

Burkina Faso’s military leader ousted in second coup this year | The Guardian

Members of Burkina Faso’s army have seized control of state television, declaring that they had ousted military leader Paul-Henri Damiba, dissolved the government and suspended the constitution and transitional charter.
In a statement read on national television late on Friday, Captain Ibrahim Traore said a group of officers had decided to remove Damiba due to his inability to deal with a worsening Islamist insurgency. He announced that borders were closed indefinitely and that all political and civil society activities were suspended.

Nobel-winning East Timor bishop accused of sex abuse | The Manila Times

Nobel Peace Prize-winning bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo has been accused in a Dutch magazine article of sexually abusing boys in East Timor in the 1990s, rocking the Catholic Church in the impoverished nation and forcing officials at the prelate's religious order to scramble to provide answers.

Hold your horses! Colombian senator rides through Congress - JIJI PRESS

Members of Colombia's Congress can now bring their pets to work, in a world first, and for one senator, wild horses couldn't have dragged him away from marking the first day of the new rule... It is a tribute to the farmers, to the men and women, to the herdsmen who live with horses. To all those people who work in the fields, he told AFP, holding his horse -- named Pasaporte -- by the bridle.

Kappa Sushi operating firm president arrested for illegally obtaining data of rival firm - The Japan News

The president of Kappa Sushi’s operating company was arrested Friday on suspicion of illegally obtaining data that was a trade secret of rival chain Hama-Sushi, the police said.
The Metropolitan Police Department believes that the Yokohama-based Kappa Create Co. President Koki Tanabe and two others — an executive at the firm and a Hama-Sushi employee who was formerly Tanabe’s subordinate — violated the Unfair Competition Prevention Law.
The MPD also intends to send a report to the public prosecutor’s office on Kappa Create’s violation of the same law as a corporation.

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News Headlines - 29 September 2022

Iran: at least 76 killed during protests over Mahsa Amini's death | Atalayar

At least 76 people have been killed in Iran by security forces in protests that began ten days ago, according to the Oslo-based NGO Iran Human Rights.
Tehran has so far admitted 41 deaths and 1,186 detainees in the unrest unleashed after the arrest on the 13th and subsequent death at a police station of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, allegedly for wearing the wrong headscarf, which is compulsory in public places in Iran for women who have passed puberty.

Myanmar court hands Suu Kyi and Australian aide 3-year jail terms - Nikkei Asia

A special court set up by Myanmar's military on Thursday sentenced deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her former economic adviser, Australian Sean Turnell, to three years in prison for violation of the Official Secrets Act, local media reports said.
Since the military ousted Suu Kyi's democratically elected government in a February 2021 coup and detained her, she has been on trial on multiple charges and now faces 23 years in prison.

Speaker Hosoda admits attending Unification Church meetings | The Asahi Shimbun

After refusing comment on the issue, Lower House Speaker Hiroyuki Hosoda finally admitted his ties to the Unification Church for the first time in a statement released on Sept. 29.
He said he attended two meetings hosted by a group connected to the church, now known formally as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, once in 2018 and the other in 2019.

VP Harris hails US alliance with 'North Korea' in speech gaffe

Vice President Kamala Harris mistakenly touted the U.S. "alliance with the Republic of North Korea" in remarks Thursday from Korea's Demilitarized Zone that sought to reaffirm America's commitment to the security of its Asian allies... Harris’ gaffe came one day after President Joe Biden made a slip-up as well when he asked in a speech whether late Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., was in attendance. Walorski died in a car wreck in August.

Football injuries 'up 20 percent' in Europe's top leagues | JIJI PRESS

Injuries across Europe's top five leagues rose by 20 percent in the 2021/22 season, according to a study published on Wednesday, as arguments intensify over football's congested calendar ahead of the World Cup.
The study by insurance brokers Howden found clubs paid a record-high price for injuries of £513 million ($550 million) last season.

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News Headlines - 28 September 2022

Japan's COVID herd immunity near 90% after Omicron wave, study says | Reuters

Japan's population level immunity to COVID-19 has reached about 90% in major population areas after a recent Omicron wave, though that level of protection is likely to diminish in a matter of months, according to a study published on Tuesday.
That level of so-called "herd immunity" reflects partial protection imparted from both natural infection and vaccination, according to the Tokyo Foundation of Policy Research, which estimated the levels for 12 of Japan's most-populated prefectures.
People in Tokyo, Osaka and the southern prefecture of Okinawa got most of their immunity through contagion amid high case counts in those areas, particularly during a seventh wave of infections that peaked last month, the researchers found.

Shionogi says COVID pill trial shows reduction in symptoms | The Asahi Shimbun

Japan’s Shionogi & Co. Ltd. said on Wednesday its oral treatment for COVID-19 demonstrated a significant reduction in symptoms compared with a placebo in a Phase III trial in Asia.
The drug, a protease inhibitor known as ensitrelvir, met its primary endpoint in a trial conducted among predominantly vaccinated patients with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19, the company said in a statement... Ensitrelvir met the trial’s goal in reducing five key symptoms of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 within 72 hours of onset, the company said.

1st reported death in Japan of man riding an electric standup scooter | The Asahi Shimbun

A driver of an electric standup scooter fell from the vehicle and died in Tokyo, marking the first death in Japan involving an e-scooter, the Metropolitan Police Department reported on Sept. 26... While riding an electric scooter at the parking lot, the 52-year-old company executive from the capital’s Minato Ward changed direction and slammed into a concrete curb. He fell forward and hit his head hard.
The man was not wearing a helmet when he was involved in the accident, according to police... He was apparently operating the vehicle under the influence of alcohol, according to police.

Myanmar beauty queen granted asylum in Canada | Thai PBS World

Myanmar’s former beauty queen and an anti-junta activist, Thaw Nandar Aung, aka “Han Lay”, who has been stranded in Thailand due to immigration difficulties, has finally been granted asylum in Canada.
Local and international media outlets, such as the BBC, cited sources saying that she will be leaving Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi on September 27th, heading to Incheon first and then on to Toronto, Canada.
The 23-year-old has been stranded since September 21st, and attempts were reportedly made by Myanmar authorities to have her repatriated, but she was not forcibly sent back.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman named PM | Al Jazeera

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been named the kingdom’s prime minister in a cabinet reshuffle ordered by King Salman, according to a royal decree published by the official Saudi Press Agency on Tuesday.
Prince Mohammed is already de facto ruler of the world’s largest oil exporter, and the appointment formalises his role as leader of the kingdom’s government.
The crown prince, known by his initials MBS, previously served as deputy prime minister as well as defence minister.

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News Headlines - 27 September 2022

Japan bids farewell to former PM Shinzo Abe with controversial state funeral | The Japan Times

Amid tight security, about 4,300 attendees gathered Tuesday in Tokyo to pay their respects at a state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated in July while campaigning for an election.
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo were among about 700 foreign dignitaries from 218 countries, regions and international organizations who attended the funeral.

Tokyo Olympic exec arrested a third time in bribery scandal | The Asahi Shimbun

Tokyo prosecutors rearrested a former Olympics organizing committee executive on Sept. 27 for allegedly accepting bribes from another company, this time approximately 15 million yen ($103,800) from Daiko Advertising Inc.
This is the third time that Haruyuki Takahashi, 78, has been arrested, following bribery charges over Olympic sponsorships involving the apparel maker Aoki Holdings Inc. and the publishing company Kadokawa Corp.
Kazumasa Fukami, 73, an acquaintance of Takahashi, who heads the consultancy firm Commons2 Inc., was also rearrested for receiving bribes.

McDonald’s hikes prices in Japan on higher input costs, weaker yen | The Asahi Shimbun

Japan's McDonald's fast food restaurants will raise prices on about 60% of its offerings to customers, fueled by rising input costs and exchange-rate fluctuations, the company said on Monday.
It marks the company's second set of price increases this year as Japan grapples with inflationary pressures and a slide in the yen to a 24-year-low, making imported ingredients more expensive. The two rounds of hikes this year are the first since 2019.
From this Friday, the cost of the signature Big Mac hamburger will increase to 410 yen ($2.85) from 390 yen, McDonald's Holding Co. Japan said in a statement, reflecting increases of 10 to 30 yen on many items.

Border vaccine rules, mandatory use of ArriveCAN, mask mandates on planes and trains to end on Oct. 1 | CBC News

The federal government says it's dropping all COVID-19 measures at borders on Saturday, meaning travellers will no longer need to provide proof of vaccination when entering Canada or wear masks on planes and trains.

Cuba approves same-sex marriage in a referendum : NPR

Cubans have approved a sweeping "family law" code that will allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt as well as redefining rights for children and grandparents, officials said Monday, though opposition in the national referendum was unusually strong on the Communist Party-governed island.
The measure — which contains more than 400 articles — was approved by 66.9% to 33.1%, the president of the National Electoral Council, Alina Balseiro Gutiérrez, told official news media, though returns from a few places remained to be counted.

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News Headlines - 26 September 2022

Russia School Shooting Kills 15, Including Children - The Moscow Times

The death toll has risen to 15 people, including 11 children, after a man opened fire Monday at his former school in central Russia, authorities said.
The attack was the latest in a series of school shootings that have shaken Russia in recent years and came with the country on edge over efforts to mobilise tens of thousands of men to fight in Ukraine.

Fire breaks out at world's biggest produce market in Paris | AP News

A billowing column of dark smoke towered over Paris on Sunday from a warehouse blaze at a massive produce market that supplies the French capital and surrounding region with much of its fresh food and bills itself as the largest of its kind in the world.
Firefighters urged people to stay away from the area in Paris’ southern suburbs, as 100 officers and 30 fire engines battled the blaze at the Rungis International Market.

Japan simplifies COVID tracking to focus on elderly, high-risk people

Japan began Monday to simplify its coronavirus reporting system by targeting elderly and high-risk people in a bid to reduce the administrative burden on hospitals and local health centers.
The new system will not require medical facilities to report details such as names and addresses of younger people with milder symptoms that have made up around 80 percent of the country's COVID-19 cases since the Omicron strain drove numbers sharply higher and stretched the medical system thin.
The government will continue to oblige health facilities to report the number of people who test positive for the virus each day by age group in an attempt to monitor the spread of COVID-19.

Japan to Start Nationwide Travel Discount Program Oct. 11 - JIJI PRESS

The Japanese government will start a nationwide travel discount program on Oct. 11, after a three-month delay due to the seventh wave of COVID-19 infections in the country, tourism minister Tetsuo Saito said Monday.
Under the program, discounts of up to 8,000 yen per night per person will be available for package tours with public transportation on weekdays. The discount will be reduced to 5,000 yen for accommodation only.
In addition, coupons worth 3,000 yen for weekdays and 1,000 yen for weekends will be given for use at local restaurants and other places.

Former pro baseball pitcher Murata released after assaulting security inspector at Haneda airport - Japan Today

Choji Murata, 72, a former professional baseball pitcher for Lotte, was released from custody on Sunday after he was arrested for assaulting a female security inspector in her 30s at Tokyo’s Haneda airport... After his release on Sunday, Murata bowed deeply to the media outside a police station in Tokyo. “I want to sincerely apologize to the woman. I would also like to deeply apologize to my many fans and children,” he said.

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News Headlines - 25 September 2022

Anti-mobilization protest in Russia: Warning shots fired in Dagestan | DW

Police in the southern Russian region of Dagestan fired warning shots on Sunday to disperse people protesting the partial mobilization of army reservists to be sent to the war in Ukraine.
According to local media reports, the protest flared up in response to the call-up of 110 men from the village of Endirey, with a population of 8,000, to fight in Ukraine. Residents of the village had also blocked a road to prevent authorities from entering.
Videos show security forces shooting into the air and scuffles between local residents and the police.

Ukraine Says 447 Bodies Exhumed at Izyum, 30 with 'Signs of Torture' - Kyiv Post

Ukrainian officials in the eastern Kharkiv region said Friday that 447 bodies had been exhumed from a mass burial site near the eastern city of Izyum recaptured from Russian forces... The prosecutors added that 425 bodies of civilians, including five children, and 22 bodies of Ukrainian servicemen were among them.
They said that all necessary measures would be taken “to establish the circumstances of the deaths and punish the Russian military”.

Japanese and American scientists win prize for sleep disorder research | The Japan Times

American and Japanese scientists have won a U.S. Breakthrough Prize for their discoveries shedding light on the cause of narcolepsy, a sleep disorder that makes people suddenly drowsy in the daytime.
One of the prizes in life sciences worth $3 million went to Emmanuel Mignot of the Stanford University School of Medicine and Masashi Yanagisawa of the University of Tsukuba for their separate research programs that have contributed to the creation of sleep-inducing drugs, the organizers said Thursday.
Breakthrough prizes, established by individuals including Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, are given for prominent work in life sciences, mathematics and fundamental physics.

Dow drops nearly 500 points to close at new low for 2022 on rising recession fears

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 486.27 points, or 1.62%, to 29,590.41... The Dow notched a new low for the year and closed below 30,000 for the first time since June 17. The 30-stock index ended the day 19.9% below an intraday record, flirting with bear market territory. At one point, the Dow was down more than 826 points.

Roger Federer: 20-time Grand Slam champion retires after Laver Cup loss - BBC Sport

A tearful Roger Federer waved goodbye to professional tennis after teaming up with fellow great Rafael Nadal on an emotional night at the Laver Cup.
The 41-year-old received a long ovation after walking off court for the final time as he retired as a professional.
The Swiss, who won 20 Grand Slam singles titles, is considered one of the best players in tennis history.

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News Headlines - 24 September 2022

45 of 47 prefectures to fly flags half-staff for Abe's state funeral | The Japan Times

At least 45 of Japan’s 47 prefectural governments plan to fly flags at half-staff or raise mourning flags at their facilities when the state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe takes place on Tuesday, a Jiji Press survey has shown.
The prefectures said that by doing so, they will extend condolences over the death of Abe.

LDP lawmaker who called Abe 'public enemy' to skip former PM's state funeral - The Mainichi

Seiichiro Murakami, a former minister in charge of regulatory reform who belongs to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), revealed he does not plan to attend the state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who Murakami called a "public enemy," a comment that caused a stir within the ruling party... News agency Jiji Press reported that after a General Council meeting held at the LDP headquarters on Sept. 20, Murakami remarked that the Abe administration had "torn apart Japan's economy, finances, diplomacy, and even bureaucracy," and called him a "public enemy."

Typhoon No. 15 causes landslides, heavy rain, killing 1 in Shizuoka Pref. - The Japan News

Typhoon No. 15 moved eastward over waters south of Honshu before dawn Saturday and had weakened into an extratropical cyclone off the main island’s southeast coast at 9 a.m.
In Shizuoka Prefecture, which received record-breaking heavy rainfall, landslides and road cave-ins were reported, in which one man, 45, was killed, another person was left missing and three others suffered slight injuries.

Death toll from Lebanon asylum seeker boat tragedy rises to 89 | Al Jazeera

More bodies of refugees and migrants have been recovered from the sea off Syria after a boat capsized on Thursday, raising the death toll to 94 as the Lebanese army said it arrested a suspected smuggler behind one of the deadliest boat disasters in the Eastern Mediterranean.

New Webb Image Captures Clearest View of Neptune’s Rings in Decades | NASA

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope shows off its capabilities closer to home with its first image of Neptune. Not only has Webb captured the clearest view of this distant planet’s rings in more than 30 years, but its cameras reveal the ice giant in a whole new light.
Most striking in Webb’s new image is the crisp view of the planet’s rings – some of which have not been detected since NASA’s Voyager 2 became the first spacecraft to observe Neptune during its flyby in 1989. In addition to several bright, narrow rings, the Webb image clearly shows Neptune’s fainter dust bands.

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News Headlines - 23 September 2022

Cambodia's war crimes court upholds conviction against last surviving Khmer Rouge leader | The Japan Times

Cambodia’s U.N.-backed Khmer Rouge war crimes court gave its final verdict Thursday, upholding the genocide conviction and life sentence imposed on the regime’s last surviving leader.
The tribunal was ruling on an appeal by Khieu Samphan, head of state for the murderous communist regime which wiped out a quarter of the Cambodian population in less than four years in the 1970s.
It is the last verdict that will be issued by the tribunal, which has cost more than $330 million and prosecuted only five Khmer Rouge leaders, two of whom died during proceedings.

Olympic mascot seller questioned over pay to bribe suspect’s friend | The Asahi Shimbun

A company selected to sell stuffed mascot dolls for the Tokyo Summer Games gave millions of yen to an acquaintance of a suspect in the widening Olympic bribery scandal, investigative sources said.
Tokyo-based Sun Arrow Inc. provided a total of about 8 million yen ($56,000) to a company operated by a golfing buddy of Haruyuki Takahashi, a former Olympic organizing committee executive, the sources said... Sun Arrow subsequently transferred money to the company operated by the golfing buddy, and about 8 million yen is believed to have gone to Takahashi, according to the sources.

New Shinkansen Bullet Train Line Opens in Japan's Kyushu - JIJI PRESS

A new 620-billion-yen Shinkansen bullet train line linking the neighboring prefectures of Saga and Nagasaki in the Kyushu southwestern Japan region opened Friday.
The 66-kilometer Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen Line connects Takeo-onsen Station in the Saga city of Takeo and Nagasaki Station in the city of Nagasaki in as fast as 23 minutes, using six-car trains, nicknamed Kamome.

Japan space probe finds water in asteroid for first time - Nikkei Asia

Water has been found in an asteroid sample collected by Japan's Hayabusa2 space probe, marking the first such discovery and shedding light on how the Earth's oceans may have formed.
The findings were published Thursday in the journal Science by research teams from Tohoku University, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and elsewhere. Researchers analyzed samples from the Ryugu asteroid sent from the Hayabusa2.
The minute amount of water was discovered in an iron sulfide crystal's indentation measuring several microns wide. It is estimated to be from roughly 4.6 billion years ago, soon after the solar system formed. The water appears to have been liquid while on Ryugu, rather than ice. The water was in a carbonated form, containing carbon dioxide, salts and organic material.

Police footage of Beatles tour to be released in censored form - The Japan News

Footage taken by police for security purposes during The Beatles’ tour of Japan in 1966 has been released — albeit somewhat censored — by a nonprofit organization advocating greater information disclosure.
The footage shows the extensive efforts taken by authorities to protect the world-famous band during a tour that had fans giddy with excitement but also sparked criticism that rock concerts were “inappropriate” for Nippon Budokan hall in Tokyo.
The Beatles touched down in Japan early on June 29, 1966, and performed five concerts over three days from June 30 to July 2 at the Budokan. More than 30,000 police officers were deployed to provide security during the tour.

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News Headlines - 22 September 2022

Yen jumps as Japan intervenes in currency market for first time since 1998 | The Japan Times

Japan intervened to support the yen for the first time since 1998, seeking to stem a 20% decline against the dollar this year amid a widening policy divergence with the U.S.
The yen rose as much as 2.3% against the dollar, pulling back sharply from the lows of the day when it had breached a key psychological level of 145, as top currency official Masato Kanda said the government was taking "bold action.”
... The last time Japan strengthened the yen with direct intervention was during the Asian financial crisis in 1998, when the exchange rate reached around 146 and threatened a fragile economy... The dollar plummeted to the ¥140 level at one time after the intervention, falling about ¥5 from ¥145.90.

Kishida, Yoon hold talks, agree to improve Japan-S Korea ties | Al Jazeera

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol have held their first one-on-one talks, according to their governments, with both sides agreeing on the need to improve relations soured by feuds over Japanese wartime abuses on the Korean peninsula.
The informal meeting took place in New York City on Wednesday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)... It marked the first talks between the leaders of the neighbouring countries since 2019... Japan and South Korea ties are at their lowest in decades.

4,300 to attend Abe’s state funeral including 700 international guests - The Japan News

About 4,300 people are expected to attend former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s state funeral, including 700 guests from abroad, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a press conference Thursday.

Eneos: Ex-chair resigned over sexual assault at hostess club | The Asahi Shimbun

The former chairman and CEO of Eneos Holdings Inc. left the company last month because he sexually assaulted and injured a hostess, Japan’s largest oil distributor said on Sept. 21.
Eneos confirmed the sexual misconduct by Tsutomu Sugimori, 66, first reported by the online version of the weekly magazine Shukan Shincho.
During a business trip to Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, Sugimori visited a local hostess club on the evening of July 1 with executives of an oil wholesale company based in the city, according to Eneos Holdings.

31 killed in Iran amid deadly anti-hijab protest crackdown: Report | Hindustan Times

At least 31 civilians have been killed in an Iranian security forces crackdown on protests that erupted over the death of Mahsa Amini after her arrest by the morality police, an Oslo-based NGO said Thursday.
"The people of Iran have come to the streets to achieve their fundamental rights and human dignity... and the government is responding to their peaceful protest with bullets," Iran Human Rights (IHR) director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said in a statement, publishing a toll after six days of protests.
IHR said it had confirmed protests taking place in over 30 cities and other urban centres, raising alarm over "mass arrests" of protesters and civil society activists.

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News Headlines - 21 September 2022

Japan man sets self on fire in apparent protest at Abe state funeral

A man set himself on fire on a street near the Japanese prime minister's office in Tokyo on Wednesday, apparently intending to commit suicide in protest against an upcoming state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, police said.
Police found a note at the scene saying, "I personally am strongly opposed" to the state funeral next Tuesday for Abe, who was slain by a gunman in July. The man, who was taken to hospital, was conscious, police said, adding that he told them he was in his 70s.

In rare move, LDP lawmaker criticizes state funeral for Abe | The Asahi Shimbun

A former Cabinet member criticized plans to hold a state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and chastised his fellow lawmakers in the ruling party for remaining silent on the issue... The Lower House member of the Liberal Democratic Party said he would skip the Sept. 27 event at Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo, saying his attendance there would be like tolerating the problems with the taxpayer-funded ceremony.

Crown prince and six other imperial family members to attend Abe's state funeral | The Japan Times

Crown Prince Akishino and six other imperial family members will attend the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe next week, the Imperial Household Agency announced Wednesday.
Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will not join the state-funded ceremony next Tuesday as it is customary for emperors not to make appearances at funerals at home or abroad. The couple made a rare exception when they attended Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral on Monday.
The prospective funeral attendees from the imperial family at the Nippon Budokan arena in Tokyo are the crown prince, Crown Princess Kiko, their second daughter Princess Kako, as well as Princess Nobuko, widow of Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, their first daughter Princess Akiko, Princess Hisako, widow of Prince Takamado, and their first daughter Princess Tsuguko.

China’s spending on Russian energy hit new record of $8.3 billion in August | Al Arabiya English

China’s spending on Russian energy products hit a record $8.3 billion last month, as the world’s top importer continues to expand its reliance on Moscow for overseas supplies of crude, oil products, gas and coal.
The haul for August was 68 percent higher than a year ago and included a record amount of coal, according to Chinese customs figures on Tuesday. It brings the total over the six months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to nearly $44 billion, an increase of 74 percent.

Mexico reacts to third earthquake in 40 years on Sep 19

A 7.7 magnitude temblor with an epicenter just over 60 kilometers south of Coalcomán, Michoacán, rocked central Mexico at 1:05 p.m. Central Time, less than an hour after the simulacro nacional, or national earthquake drill, began.
It was the second time in just five years that a large quake occurred shortly after the drill, after the same thing happened in 2017.
The drill is held annually on September 19 because the worst earthquake in recent Mexican history occurred on that date in 1985, causing widespread damage and claiming thousands of lives in the capital. The drill held Monday coincidentally assumed an epicenter in Michoacán.

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News Headlines - 20 September 2022

Queen's funeral: Flags back at full-mast as mourning period ends - BBC News

Flags on British government buildings around the world are flying at full-mast once again, as the period of national mourning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II draws to a close... But the Royal Family will continue to observe another week of mourning.
Senior royals are not expected to carry out any public duties during this time.
Flags at royal residences will remain at half-mast until 08:00 BST on 27 September - the day after their mourning period ends.

Queen Elizabeth II's funeral watched by 26.2 million across the UK | ITV News

The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II drew one of the biggest British television audiences this century, with millions tuning in to watch the ceremony and her final journey to Windsor.
The average audience for the Queen's funeral service at Westminster Abbey was 26.2 million across all channels, according to provisional figures released by the research organisation Barb, Broadcasters'​ Audience Research Board... Official ratings for the funeral will be published by Barb next week and will include data for people who viewed the service on tablets, PCs and smartphones.

More than 250,000 people saw the Queen lying in state in Westminster Hall in London, says culture secretary | Sky News

More than 250,000 people saw the Queen lying in state in London, according to the culture secretary.
Michelle Donelan told Sky News that more than a quarter of a million mourners "went through parliament" but that it was an approximate figure and the government was still "crunching the final numbers".

Why Biden Sat in the 14th Row Queen Elizabeth II's Funeral | Time

At the the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, where hundreds of world leaders, royals, and dignitaries of every shape crowded into Westminster Abbey, the seating chart is imbued with meaning. So it’s not a surprise that the position of U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were stationed 14 rows back.
They were behind the president of Poland and ahead of the Czech Republic prime minister. The president of Switzerland sat one seat over, next to the U.S. First Lady.
The answer to the query is both routine and extraordinary: The Americans got stuck in traffic.

Myanmar army helicopters fire on school, killing six | CNN

At least six children were killed and 17 wounded when army helicopters shot at a school in Myanmar, media reports and residents said on Monday, as the military said it opened fire because rebels were using the building to attack its forces... Myanmar has been gripped by violence since the army overthrew an elected government early last year. Opposition movements, some of them armed, have since emerged across the country, which the military has countered with lethal force.

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News Headlines - 19 September 2022

Calls for war-crimes tribunal grow over Russia’s actions in Izyum - POLITICO

The foreign minister of the Czech Republic, current holder of the presidency of the Council of the EU, called for a “special international tribunal” after evidence of torture on civilians emerged from a mass burial site in Izyum in northeastern Ukraine.

Biden says U.S. forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion

U.S. President Joe Biden said U.S forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, his most explicit statement on the issue, drawing an angry response from China that said it sent the wrong signal to those seeking an independent Taiwan.
Asked in a CBS 60 Minutes interview broadcast on Sunday whether U.S. forces would defend the democratically governed island claimed by China, he replied: “Yes, if in fact, there was an unprecedented attack.”
Asked to clarify if he meant that unlike in Ukraine, U.S. forces - American men and women - would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, Biden replied: “Yes.”

Kishida Cabinet's approval rating sinks to 29%: Mainichi poll - The Mainichi

The support rate for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida declined to 29% in the latest Mainichi Shimbun opinion poll conducted on Sept. 17 and 18, falling below 30% for the first time since his administration was inaugurated in October 2021.

Japan's Elderly Population Totals Record 36.27 M. | JIJI PRESS

The estimated number of people aged 65 or older in Japan stood at a record high of 36.27 million as of Thursday, rising by 60,000 from a year before and accounting for 29.1 pct of the nation's total population, also the highest ever, the internal affairs ministry said Sunday.

2-yr-old boy dies after being hit by runaway go-kart at Hokkaido resort - The Mainichi

A 2-year-old boy died after being hit by a go-kart that crashed into a row of children waiting for their turn at a resort in Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, local police said on Sept. 19.
Sena Yoshida of Hakodate, Hokkaido, was unconscious when he was transported to hospital with two other boys after the Sept. 18 accident at the Greenpia Onuma resort and hotel in the town of Mori, and was reported to be in critical condition. He was later pronounced dead. One of the other boys sustained minor injuries between his eyebrows, while the other boy was unscathed.
According to sources including Mori Police Station, the go-karting event was co-hosted by the Hakodate Toyopet auto dealership and three other firms. A temporary go-kart course was set up in the Greenpia Onuma parking lot. An 11-year-old girl was behind the wheel of the go-kart that rammed into the line of children.

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News Headlines - 18 September 2022

World leaders greet King Charles at Buckingham Palace on eve of Queen’s funeral | The Guardian

King Charles III has begun greeting world leaders and royals from across the globe as the 'reception of the century' gets underway at Buckingham Palace.

Celtic fans sing anti-monarchy song throughout minute's applause for the Queen | Sky News

Some Celtic football fans sang "if you hate the Royal Family clap your hands" throughout a minute's applause in memory of the Queen before their away match against St Mirren.
Supporters of the Glasgow-based club also held up a banner containing the same phrase at the stadium in Paisley.
The club is already facing UEFA disciplinary proceedings after supporters held up a "F*** the Crown" banner during Wednesday's Champions League draw against Shakhtar Donetsk in Poland.

Greece, Germany agree on 40 Marder tanks | eKathimerini.com

Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos and his German counterpart Christine Lambrecht have agreed on the transfer of 40 BMP-1 armored combat vehicles from Greece to Ukraine, which will be replaced by 40 Marder armored combat vehicles to be transferred from Germany to Greece.
The agreement was a follow-up to the decision by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Chancellor Olaf Scholz last May to support Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s continued aggression.

Pope says supplying weapons to Ukraine is morally acceptable for self defence | Reuters

Pope Francis on Thursday said it was morally legitimate for nations to supply weapons to Ukraine to help the country defend itself from Russian aggression.
Speaking to reporters aboard a plane returning from a three-day trip to Kazakhstan, Francis also urged Kyiv to be open to eventual dialogue, even though it may "smell" because it would be difficult for the Ukrainian side.
The war in Ukraine, which Russia invaded on Feb. 24, provided the backdrop to the pope's visit to Kazakhstan, where he attended a congress of religious leaders from around the world.

‘Dangerous’ Typhoon No. 14 slams into Kagoshima - The Japan News

Typhoon No. 14 made landfall in southwestern Japan on Sunday night, as authorities urged millions of people to take shelter from the powerful storm’s high winds and torrential rain.
The storm officially made landfall around 7 p.m. as its eyewall arrived near Kagoshima City, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
It was packing gusts of up to 234 kilometres per hour and had already dumped up to 500 mm of rain in less than 24 hours on parts of southwestern Kyushu region.

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News Headlines - 17 September 2022

Man arrested after approaching Queen's coffin - BBC News

A man has been arrested after he approached Queen Elizabeth's coffin from a queue of mourners in Westminster Hall.
He was arrested under the Public Order Act and was taken into custody, Metropolitan Police said.
The incident in Parliament occurred at about 22:00 BST on Friday night, the force said in a statement.

Bodies found near recaptured Ukraine region show signs of torture, official says | PBS NewsHour

The site, which police said contained 445 graves, was discovered close to Izium after a rapid counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces retook the northeastern city and much of the Kharkiv region, breaking what had largely become a stalemate in the nearly seven-month war. Ukrainian officials said they have also found evidence that people were tortured during the Russian occupation of the area... The majority of the people buried were believed to be civilians, according to Ukrainian officials. But there was at least one mass grave, with a marker saying it contained the bodies of 17 Ukrainian soldiers.

Drug company employee held for killing wife with methanol | The Asahi Shimbun

Tokyo police announced the arrest of a pharmaceutical company employee on suspicion of fatally poisoning his wife with methanol.
The Metropolitan Police Department on Sept. 16 named the suspect as Keisuke Yoshida, 40, saying he murdered his wife, Yoko, 40, in January... Police said Yoshida called the emergency number on the morning of Jan. 16 to report that his wife was unconscious. Her death was confirmed the same day.

Govt ordered to pay damages over death of detained Cameroon man - The Japan News

A district court Friday ordered the government to pay ¥1.65 million in damages over the death of a Cameroonian man detained at an immigration center in Ibaraki Prefecture near Tokyo in 2014.
In the lawsuit filed with the Mito District Court, the mother of the Cameroonian man demanded that the government pay ¥10 million, claiming that her son died as a result of the immigration center’s failure to provide proper medical care.

N. Korea raps Japan over 2002 Pyongyang Declaration - The Japan News

A North Korean diplomat has condemned Japan in a statement released ahead of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Pyongyang Declaration, the Korean Central News Agency reported Friday.
Song Il Ho, North Korea’s envoy for relations with Japan, said in the statement, dated Thursday, that Japan has nullified the declaration by imposing all sorts of hideous sanctions against North Korea.
Japan brought up again the already-resolved issue of abductions of Japanese nationals by Pyongyang decades ago and led its relationship with North Korea to the worst confrontation phase, the statement said, warning against Japan’s demands for the early return of abductees.

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News Headlines - 16 September 2022

Ex-JOC chief Takeda questioned over Tokyo Olympics corruption case | The Japan Times

Former Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda, who served as a vice chairman of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee, has been questioned by prosecutors on a voluntary basis over an expanding sponsorship bribery scandal, a source close to the matter said Friday.
Takeda, 74, is believed to have been questioned as a witness, the source said. Prosecutors are seeking to establish a bribery case against Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive of the organizing committee, who allegedly received money from two companies in return for helping them become sponsors of the Summer Games last year.

Izumi: All CDP executives won’t attend state funeral for Abe | The Asahi Shimbun

Party leader Kenta Izumi on Sept. 8 asked Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at a Diet committee session for the legal basis of holding the Sept. 27 state funeral. But no satisfactory answer was received.
So the CDP submitted a written question on why the Kishida Cabinet was not hosting Abe’s funeral.
CDP officials said a response was received on Sept. 14.
“It was simply a rehash of what has been said in the Diet until now,” Izumi told reporters on Sept. 15. “It was extremely insincere.”

Number of people aged 100 and over in Japan tops 90,000 for first time | NHK WORLD

The number of people aged 100 and older in Japan has surpassed 90,000 for the first time, hitting a new high for 52 years in a row.
The health ministry says there were 90,526 centenarians in the country as of Thursday, up about 4,000 from last year. Women account for nearly 90 percent.
The number has been rising continuously since 1970, when there were only 310 centenarians.

Japan’s record trade deficit shows pain of weak yen - Taipei Times

Japan’s trade deficit ballooned to a record last month, highlighting the pains of a weak yen as import costs spiral upwards, adding to pressure on the nation’s economic recovery.
The unadjusted trade deficit expanded to ¥2.82 trillion (US$19.6 billion) last month, the Japanese Ministry of Finance reported yesterday. The gap was far larger than economists’ estimates and extends the sequence of red ink to 13 months, the longest stretch since 2015.
Imports rose 49.9 percent in value from a year ago, reaching a record, led by crude oil, coal and liquid natural gas.

Antigua and Barbuda Will Vote to Cut Ties With British Monarchy

On Saturday, following King Charles III’s official ascension, Antiguan and Barbudan Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced that he would hold a referendum within the next three years to decide whether to remove the British monarch as the country’s head of state and become a republic. As Browne explained in his announcement, “This is not an act of hostility…It is a final step to complete the circle of independence to become a truly sovereign nation.” King Charles is currently the monarch and head of state of 14 countries outside the United Kingdom (U.K.), including Antigua and Barbuda.

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News Headlines - 15 September 2022

Japan FTC Urges Improvement over Uber Eats Pay System | JIJI PRESS

Japan's Fair Trade Commission has urged Uber Japan Co., the operator of Uber Eats food delivery service, to make improvements over its compensation system for its delivery workers, informed sources said Thursday.
Uber Japan changed the delivery compensation system in May last year, leading to lower payments to some delivery workers.
The commission examined the change for a possible case of the abusive use of a superior bargaining position under the antitrust law.

Govt to allow salaries to be paid via apps - The Japan News

Japan is expected to allow businesses to pay salaries into employees’ accounts of cashless payment services provided via smartphone apps.
A subcommittee of the Labor Policy Council, which advises the labor minister, discussed the so-called digital salary payments at a meeting Tuesday.
At the meeting, the labor ministry presented a plan to put a ¥1 million cap on the amount of digital salary payments that can be made at one time and the balance of funds in cashless accounts used for such salary payments.

UN chief and Russia's Putin discuss war in Ukraine - The Mainichi

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday about exporting Russian fertilizer through Ukraine's Black Sea ports to address a growing global food crisis that threatens multiple famines.
The U.N. chief said they also discussed security at Europe's largest nuclear plant, where he said bombing has stopped for the past three days, and prisoners of war.

Thai top court rules Toyota unit must pay $272m in import duties - Nikkei Asia

Thailand Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling that the local unit of Toyota Motor Corp. owed the government 10 billion baht ($272.11 million) in extra taxes for importing components not subject to a reduced tariff.
The court was handling an appeal against a 2019 ruling that the company must pay duties on some parts imported from Japan, which were for its Prius gas-electric hybrid model assembled in Thailand between 2010 and 2012.
The court agreed with the previous decision that the imported items should be treated as complete knock-down kits, with an 80% tariff rate, instead of as auto parts, meaning they were not eligible for a reduced rate of 30% under a Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (JTEPA).

The Queen and Paddington: How a bear became an unlikely royal mascot - BBC News

Paddington has been popping up everywhere among the tributes to the Queen, from toys in the carpets of flowers, to films appearing in TV schedules. It all stems from a sketch during the Platinum Jubilee, when the monarch and the bear made an unlikely but heartwarming pair... Paddington teddies and marmalade sandwiches have been placed among the tributes - so many, in fact, that the Royal Parks have asked mourners not to leave any more.

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News Headlines - 14 September 2022

Kadokawa chairman arrested in widening Tokyo Olympic bribery case | The Japan Times

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday arrested Kadokawa Chairman Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, 79, on suspicion of offering bribes totaling around ¥69 million to a former executive of the Tokyo Games organizing committee... Kadokawa is suspected of transferring the funds on nine occasions from the firm’s bank account to a consulting firm headed by Kazumasa Fukami, 73, also a former Dentsu employee, between September 2019 and January 2021 as a reward for giving the publisher an advantage to be selected as a sponsor of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Russia spent millions in secret global political campaign, U.S. says - The Washington Post

Russia has secretly funneled at least $300 million to foreign political parties and candidates in more than two dozen countries since 2014 in an attempt to shape political events beyond its borders, according to a new U.S. intelligence review.
Moscow planned to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more as part of its covert campaign to weaken democratic systems and promote global political forces seen as aligned with Kremlin interests, according to the review, which the Biden administration commissioned this summer.

EU proposes banning products made with forced labour | Reuters

The European Commission proposed on Wednesday an EU ban on products made using forced labour with legislation that will add to existing U.S. pressure on China, but will likely change before it enters force.
The EU executive does not name any country in its proposal, but it follows a European Parliament call for such a law in June that highlighted concerns over human rights in China's Xinjiang region... The EU proposal highlights the 27.6 million people the International Labour Organization says were engaged in forced labour in 2021, 11% more than in 2016.

Ken Starr, prosecutor in Clinton Whitewater probe, dies at 76

Ken Starr, who led the Whitewater investigation into former President Bill Clinton, died Tuesday at 76, his family said in a statement.
Starr died in Houston of complications from surgery, the statement said.
Starr was nominated by former President Ronald Reagan for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C., circuit, and he served as U.S. solicitor general under then-President George H.W. Bush.

Premier League: Minute's silence and national anthem part of tributes to Queen - BBC Sport

All Premier League matches will begin with a minute's silence this weekend as part of tributes to the Queen.
It will be followed by the national anthem and after 70 minutes fans will be invited to applaud, a reference to the Queen's 70-year reign... Seven English top-flight matches will take place this weekend, the first games since the Queen's death.

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News Headlines - 13 September 2022

Britons’ first impressions of King Charles III | YouGov

Asked how they anticipate his reign, 63% say they think Charles will do a good job as king, with only 15% thinking he will do a bad one. This is a marked improvement for the new monarch: in a survey in May Britons were split 32% to 32% on whether or not the-then Prince Charles would make a good king... Britons also think that Camilla – now Queen Consort – will do a good job in her new role, at 53% to 18%.

COVID-tracing app in Japan set to stop working amid new rules | The Asahi Shimbun

COCOA, the central government’s COVID-19 contact tracing app, will soon cease to function although this time not because of some glitch that hampered its effectiveness... Starting from Sept. 26, the central government will simplify the system of counting all COVID-19 patients, meaning the app will only notify certain people that they have been in contact with infected people.

Honda to realize carbon neutrality for motorcycles in 2040s

Honda Motor Co. said Tuesday it will ramp up sales of electric motorcycles, offering more than 10 new models globally by 2025, as it aims to realize carbon neutrality for its two-wheeler segment in the 2040s.
Honda said it will try to increase annual sales of electric motorcycles, currently hovering at 100,000 to 200,000 units, to 1 million units in the next five years.
The Japanese manufacturer said it then plans to sell 3.5 million units by 2030, accounting for about 15 percent of its entire motorcycle sales.

Japan producer prices climb 9% in August - The Japan News

Producer prices in Japan jumped 9.0% in August from a year before due to soaring commodity costs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as the impact of the yen’s rapid decline, the Bank of Japan said in a preliminary report Tuesday.
The producer price index, which measures costs of goods traded between businesses, stood at a record high of 115.1 against the 2020 base of 100, rising for the 18th straight month, the central bank said.

Baseball: Munetaka Murakami ties Oh's best with 55th home run

Munetaka Murakami, the Yakult Swallows' 22-year-old cleanup hitter, hit his 55th home run on Tuesday, matching the best season total of Japan's career home run leader, Hall of Famer Sadaharu Oh.
Murakami hit two home runs at Tokyo's Jingu Stadium in the Swallows' 9-7 Central League loss to the Yomiuri Giants, and is now in a four-way tie for second place behind the 60 Wladimir Balentien hit for the Swallows in 2013. Oh hit 55 with the Yomiuri Giants in 1964 and went on to hit 868 in his career.

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News Headlines - 12 September 2022

BPO Finds NHK's Olympic Documentary Violated Broadcasting Ethics - JIJI PRESS

A committee of the Broadcasting Ethics & Program Improvement Organization, or BPO, said Friday that a Tokyo Olympics-related documentary program produced and aired by public broadcaster NHK, or Japan Broadcasting Corp., included a serious breach of broadcasting ethics.
The program in question followed Japanese film director Naomi Kawase and others involved in creating the official documentary film of last summer's Tokyo Olympics.

Japan to bid to host 2025 Deaflympics - The Japan News

The Japanese Federation of the Deaf (JFD) announced Thursday that it would present a bid centered on Tokyo to host the 2025 Deaflympics in the summer of that year.
The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf will select the host city during its general congress on Friday and Saturday in Vienna. If successful, it will be the first time for the event to be held in Japan.
Like the Olympics and Paralympics, the Deaflympics are held once every four years, with both summer and winter editions.

UN says 50 million people worldwide stuck in ‘modern slavery’ | Al Jazeera

The number of people trapped in forced labour or forced marriage and other crises has swelled by a fifth in recent years to about 50 million on any given day, the United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Monday.
The study by the UN agencies for labour and migration along with the Walk Free Foundation found that at the end of last year, more than half of those had been forced to work against their will and the rest forced into marriage, the ILO said.

Taliban close girls schools that had briefly opened - The Hindu

Taliban authorities Saturday shut down girls schools above the sixth grade in eastern Afghanistan's Paktia province, according to witnesses and social media posts. The schools had briefly opened after a recommendation by tribal elders and school principals.
Earlier this month, four girls schools above grade 6 in Gardez, the provincial capital, and one in the Samkani district began operating without formal permission from the Taliban Education Ministry.
On Saturday, all five schools were once again closed by the Taliban.

MLB rule changes: Pitch clock, shift limits, bigger bases coming in 2023

The MLB approved several rule changes for the 2023 season that are aimed to speed up the pace of play and increase safety in games, according to a Friday release from the league... The new rules include a 30-second timer to speed up time between batters. Pitchers will have 15 seconds between pitches when the bases are empty, but, with runners on base, that time will expand to 20 seconds.
If a pitcher violates the timer, he will be charged an automatic ball. If a batter violates the limit, he will be charged an automatic strike... MLB is also increasing the size of bases from 15 inches square to 18 inches square. This gives infielders more distance between themselves and baserunners, in a bid to decrease collisions.
The change also decreases base-to-base distance by 4.5 inches.

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News Headlines - 11 September 2022

Anti-U.S. base incumbent Tamaki secures 2nd term as Okinawa governor

Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki won a second four-year-term following Sunday's gubernatorial election, obtaining a renewed mandate for his efforts to discontinue a plan to relocate a U.S. base within the island prefecture.
Opposition-backed Tamaki defeated former Ginowan Mayor Atsushi Sakima, 58, who was supported by the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito... The victory by the governor deals a blow to efforts by the government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to press ahead with the decades-old relocation plan and comes after the ruling LDP was entangled by party members' links with the controversial Unification Church.

3 bodies found in Russia after Hokkaido boat tragedy arrive in Japan

Three bodies recovered by Russia that are believed to be those of people missing from a tourist boat that sank off Hokkaido in April arrived in Japan on a coast guard vessel Saturday.
The bodies, discovered between May and June, were handed over to the Japan Coast Guard by Russian authorities the previous day following DNA tests conducted in Russia. The tests based on data sent from Japan showed the bodies were those of two of the passengers and a crew member of the sightseeing boat Kazu I, which sank in bad weather on April 23 leaving 15 dead and 11 missing.

Japan Adopts 50,000-Yen Aid Plan for Low-Income Households - JIJI PRESS

The Japanese government on Friday adopted a plan to provide 50,000 yen in benefits to each low-income household in the country to help them cope with soaring food and energy prices... By the end of this month, the government hopes to decide on the spending of reserve funds totaling around 3.5 trillion yen to implement the new measures to tackle higher prices as well as steps to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Record rains in Pakistan damage Mohenjo Daro archaeological site | Al Jazeera

The devastating floods in Pakistan have caused significant damage to Mohenjo Daro, a famous 4,500-year-old archaeological site in the southeastern Sindh province which UNESCO has declared a World Heritage site.
The area in Sindh’s Larkana district received more than 1,400mm of rain in the second week of August, damaging the protective outer covering on the historic structures, Abdul Fatah Shaikh, the director of archeology and museum for the provincial government, told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.

Body of British aid worker Paul Urey held by Russian separatists ‘shows signs of torture’ | ITV News Granada

The body of a British aid worker who reportedly died while being detained by pro-Russia separatists shows signs of "possible unspeakable torture", it has been claimed.
Paul Urey, 45, died in captivity in Ukraine in July after being branded a 'mercenary'.
It was initially claimed by the human rights Ombudsperson for the Moscow-supported leadership in Donetsk, the dad from Leyland in Lancashire, had died of chronic illness and stress.

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News Headlines - 10 September 2022

Premier League postpones weekend fixtures as Britain mourns death of Queen Elizabeth II - Eurosport

The Premier League has postponed this weekend’s fixtures following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II - with football as a whole across England being shut down.
The UK government said on Friday morning in a document titled ‘Guidance for the Period of National Mourning’ that there was "no obligation to cancel or postpone events and sporting fixtures, or close entertainment venues” after the death of the UK's longest-reigning monarch.
However, the Premier League has said in a statement that games will be postponed to honour the Queen's "extraordinary life and contribution to the nation, and as a mark of respect".

200 years of Brazilian independence, with little to celebrate | Brazilian Report

This September 7, Brazilians celebrated the bicentennial of the country's independence from Portugal. However, instead of commemorating the landmark date, Brazil was instead privy to a large-scale campaign event from far-right President Jair Bolsanaro - who hijacked official parades using public money in an attempt to bolster his ailing polling numbers, with an election less than a month away.

The Russian President met with employees of the Kamchatka Falcon Center

Russian President Vladimir Putin met on Monday during a working trip to the Far East with employees of the Kamchatka Falcon Center.
The conversation took place after the meeting of the head of state with the participants of the ecological forum "Ecosystem. Reserved Territory" and before the meeting on the long-term socio-economic development of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky City District.
The creation of the international center for reproduction and conservation of rare species of large birds of prey began in Kamchatka in 2017.

Lack of legal basis halted state funeral for Sato in 1975. But now? | The Asahi Shimbun

But the government decided against the state funeral because there was no legal basis to justify holding such an event, Sadao Hirano, a former lawmaker familiar with the matter, told The Asahi Shimbun.
According to Hirano, Ichiro Yoshikuni, chief of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, the watchdog of laws, warned Takeo Miki, the prime minister at the time, not to hold the state funeral for Sato.
Yoshikuni explained to Miki that Japan has no legal provisions to justify holding a state funeral and that performing one would require approval from the legislative, administrative and judicial branches of government, Hirano said.

Oldest letter written in Japan could be stain from marker | The Asahi Shimbun

A black mark on a stone artifact believed to be the oldest known written character in Japan was likely made with a modern permanent marker.
A research team that included the Archaeological Institute of Kashihara, Nara Prefecture, reached the conclusion after analyzing the 2,000-year-old artifact.
The team said the “character” was probably made through contamination from a marker.

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News Headlines - 09 September 2022

Global warming raised chance of extreme heat during Japan summer by 240 times: study - The Mainichi

Global warming caused by human activities raised the probability of record high temperatures across Japan this summer by 240 times compared to the expected chances in the absence of global warming, a Japanese research team announced on Sept. 6.
The research team consisting of scientists at organizations including the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)'s Meteorological Research Institute says the probability and intensity of abnormal weather are expected to further increase as global warming progresses... According to the researchers, the probability of high temperatures in Japan between late June and early July this year was about "once in five years." This took into account the effects of global warming and the La Nina phenomenon triggered by lower-than-normal sea surface temperatures off the coast of Peru, which lasts for about a year.
In contrast, the results of analysis presuming no global warming showed that extreme heat would occur as rarely as "once in 1,200 years" even if the same La Nina phenomenon occurred.

Syphilis Cases Hit Record High for 2nd Year in Japan - JIJI PRESS

Syphilis infection cases reported in Japan have hit a record high for the second consecutive year this year, it was learned Thursday.
Cases reported this year totaled 8,155 as of Sunday, already topping 7,983 cases for the whole of last year, according to a preliminary government tally disclosed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Infectious Disease Surveillance Center on Thursday. Syphilis cases this year are on track to exceed 10,000.

Ukrainian Woman Sues Japanese Firm over Harassment | JIJI PRESS

A 27-year-old Ukrainian woman filed a damages lawsuit against a Japanese firm with Nara District Court on Friday, claiming that she fell into a state of depression due to harassment by a male superior when she worked for the firm.
The Ukrainian woman demanded that Akagi Helicopter Co., an air freight company based in Tokyo's Koto Ward, pay her some 5.5 million yen.
According to her complaint and other sources, the superior started hurling abusive remarks toward the woman, who was a contract worker at the company's office in the western Japan city of Nara, on a daily basis around January 2020.

Pakistan court to indict former PM Imran Khan in contempt case | Al Jazeera

A court in Pakistan has ruled that it will indict former Prime Minister Imran Khan on charges of contempt of court relating to remarks made against the judge of a lower court, and charges against him will be framed on September 22... Khan’s contempt of court case was initiated after a speech he gave on August 20, where he threatened “action” by taking legal recourse against senior Islamabad police officials and Judge Zeba Chaudhry, who had approved the two-day detention of Khan’s close aide Shahbaz Gill.
Gill was arrested by authorities on August 9 after he was accused of inciting a mutiny in Pakistan’s powerful military during a TV show. He is facing sedition charges arising from his alleged comments.

Barack and Michelle Obama make first joint return to the White House for unveiling of official portraits | CNN Politics

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama’s official White House portraits were unveiled during an emotional ceremony at the White House on Wednesday – marking their first joint visit to the building since they left in 2017 and the return of a Washington tradition last celebrated 10 years ago... While there’s no hard-and-fast rule for when a White House portrait ought to be unveiled, ceremonies have often been hosted by a former president’s immediate successor. And when in office, President Donald Trump never held a ceremony for the Obama portraits.

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News Headlines - 08 September 2022

SDF faces probe over sexual assault allegations - The Japan News

Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said Tuesday that he has ordered a special probe covering the entire Self-Defense Forces in response to sexual assault allegations.
The special defense inspection will be conducted after former Ground SDF member Rina Gonoi, 22, sought a third-party reinvestigation into alleged sexual assault committed by then colleagues last year... This is the first time in five years for the ministry to conduct a special defense inspection, in which its Inspector General’s Office of Legal Compliance investigates malpractice independently.

Japan ruling party says 179 of 379 lawmakers had interactions with Unification Church | Reuters

A top official of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on Thursday said a party investigation found that 179 of 379 lawmakers had interactions with the Unification Church and 17 received election help.

Kura Sushi to raise prices, end 100-yen sushi after 4 decades | The Asahi Shimbun

Kura Sushi announced on Sept. 7 that the most inexpensive plate will be increased in price from October, blaming the weakening yen as well as rising seafood and fuel costs.
It is the first time that dishes of 100 yen, excluding consumption tax, will disappear from the stores’ menus since 1984 when the company entered the sushi conveyer belt business... Approximately 50 of the chain's 60 inexpensive sushi dishes will be raised to 115 yen in price from October.

Ex-Yomiuri Giants baseball team manager Shigeo Nagashima hospitalized in Tokyo - The Mainichi

The Yomiuri Giants baseball team's former manager Shigeo Nagashima was hospitalized in Tokyo on Sept. 6 after he was transported there by ambulance, it has been learned... Nagashima suffered a stroke in 2004 when he was working as a manager of the Japanese national team for the Athens Olympics, and had to give up leading the team in the Games.

CNN anchor Bernard Shaw dead at 82 | CNN Business

Former CNN anchor Bernard Shaw died Wednesday at a Washington, DC, hospital of pneumonia unrelated to Covid-19, Shaw’s family announced Thursday. Shaw was 82.
Shaw was CNN’s first chief anchor and was with the network when it launched on June 1, 1980. He retired from CNN after more than 20 years on February 28, 2001.
During his storied career, Shaw reported on some of the biggest stories of that time – including the student revolt in Tiananmen Square in May 1989, the First Gulf war live from Baghdad in 1991, and the 2000 presidential election.


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News Headlines - 07 September 2022

Japanese-language school decertified over abuse of Vietnamese student | The Japan Times

The immigration agency stripped a Japanese language school of its certification Wednesday after it found a staff member physically restrained a male Vietnamese student last October.
The staff member at the Nishinihon International Education Institute in the city of Fukuoka was found to have restrained the student for several hours by connecting his belt to the employee’s belt with a chain and padlock, according to the Immigration Services Agency.
The incident occurred following a disagreement between the school and the man in his 20s over his wish to change schools.

Toyota unit Hino to freeze truck production for some models for a year - Nikkei Asia

kkei staff writer
Toyota Motor unit Hino Motors will halt production of some medium- and heavy-duty trucks for at least another year after an engine emissions cheating scandal, Nikkei has learned.
Some domestic models of the medium-duty Ranger truck brand and the heavy-duty Profia truck brand will not be produced until August 2023. Those models had false emissions tests, the company said, and shipments of the models had stopped in March.

Japan set to shorten COVID isolation time to 7 days - Nikkei Asia

The Japanese government is set to shorten the stay-at-home period for those infected with COVID-19 to seven days from 10 at present. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is scheduled to announce the change on Tuesday evening in a step aimed at moving the country closer to normal economic and social activity, while also preparing for outbreaks of new variants of the virus and rapidly spreading infections.
The government currently asks symptomatic individuals infected with COVID-19 to isolate at home for 10 days and asymptomatic ones for a week. After the change, the period will be shortened to seven days for symptomatic individuals as well. Officials are considering further shortening the isolation period for people without symptoms.

Japan raises daily arrival cap to 50,000 as tourism sector sluggish

Japan increased its daily entry cap on arrivals from 20,000 to 50,000 on Wednesday, as the country's tourism sector has been languishing in the face of strict COVID-19 border controls imposed for more than two years.
Starting on the same day, incoming travelers who have been vaccinated at least three times do not need to take coronavirus tests within 72 hours of departure and show proof they are not infected.

Tarantula Nebula image caught by NASA's Webb space telescope | CNN

At 161,000 light-years away from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy, the Tarantula Nebula is the nickname for 30 Doradus, the “largest and brightest star-forming region in the Local Group, the galaxies nearest our Milky Way,” according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Resembling a burrowing tarantula’s home line with its silk, it houses the hottest and most massive stars known to astronomers, according to NASA.

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News Headlines - 06 September 2022

3-year-old girl in Shizuoka Prefecture dies after being left inside daycare bus for hours - The Japan News

Somehow, nobody noticed that 3-year-old China Kawamoto did not get off her daycare bus on Monday morning. By the time she was found on the vehicle later in the afternoon, she was unconscious and not breathing. A short time later, she was declared dead.
The tragedy occurred in Makinohara, Shizuoka Prefecture, where the young girl had been attending the certified educational daycare center Kawasaki Yochien.
Shizuoka prefectural police suspect that Kawamoto suffered heatstroke after being left on the bus for about five hours. They are investigating the case on suspicion of professional negligence resulting in death and on Tuesday searched the daycare center.

Japan Arrests Haruyuki Takahash Executives in Olympic Bribery Probe - Bloomberg

Prosecutors arrested publisher Kadokawa Corp.’s adviser and former senior executive officer Toshiyuki Yoshihara, as well as former manager Kyoji Maniwa, alongside a fresh warrant for former Tokyo 2020 board member Haruyuki Takahashi, according to a statement by the prosecutors office Tuesday.
The executives at Kadokawa were arrested on suspicion of making bribes to win sponsorship for the games, the statement said. Kadokawa paid Takahashi a total of 69 million yen ($489,000) of bribery between 2019 and 2021 through an account of Kazumasa Fukami, who was also arrested Tuesday, it said.

Cost for Abe’s state funeral estimated at 1.66 billion yen | The Asahi Shimbun

The state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will cost an estimated 1.66 billion yen ($11.9 million), including security expenses, in taxpayer money, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Sept. 6.
The announcement came after the government, in the face of mounting public pressure, reversed its earlier position of revealing the price tag only after the funeral was over.
Kishida’s decision to stage the state funeral for Abe, who was assassinated in July during an election campaign, is proving increasingly unpopular.

Giant squid statue defies critics, pays off 22-fold for Japan town - Nikkei Asia

A rural Japanese town's decision to spend COVID-19 relief money on a giant squid monument has been vindicated, officials say, pointing to estimates that tourists pumped roughly 22 times its cost into the local economy.
Named Ika Kingu, or Squid King, the 13-meter long, 4-meter tall monument sits outside a roadside tourist center in coastal Noto, a shrinking community of 15,000 people with few claims to fame besides local seafood.
The town's use of pandemic stimulus money to build the tentacled attraction sparked a debate that was reported worldwide including by The New York Times, Agence France-Presse and Indian and Singaporean news outlets.

British MP and a prime minister congratulate the wrong Liz Truss on Twitter | The Guardian

As soon as Truss won the race to become Tory leader and the new prime minister, Sweden’s prime minister Magdalena Andersson tweeted a message of goodwill to @liztruss... Unfortunately, the Twitter handle in question has belonged to a woman called Liz Trussell since 2009, with the new leader of global Britain having to make do with @trussliz.

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News Headlines - 05 September 2022

Chile new constitution: Voters overwhelmingly reject proposal in referendum - CNN

Chilean voters resoundingly rejected a new, progressive constitution in a referendum on Sunday, following a nearly two-year process that aimed to reflect a broader array of voices in the nation's document.
With almost all of the ballots counted, 62% of voters rejected the proposal with 38% voting in favor, according to the Chile Electoral Service.

Canada hunts suspects in stabbing spree that killed 10, wounded 15 | Reuters

Canadian police hunted for two suspects in a stabbing spree that killed 10 people and wounded at least 15 others mostly in a sparsely populated indigenous community early Sunday.
The stabbings across 13 crime scenes were among the deadliest mass killings in modern Canadian history and certain to reverberate throughout the country, which is unaccustomed to bouts of mass violence more commonly seen in the United States.

Suicide attack at Russia embassy in Kabul kills 2 diplomats - The Mainichi

A suicide bombing outside the Russian Embassy in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Monday killed two members of the embassy staff and at least one Afghan civilian in what Moscow denounced as an "unacceptable terrorist act."

Body found in the sea off Toyama, where a young boy is missing | The Asahi Shimbun

The Japan Coast Guard discovered a body believed to be that of a child in the sea off Toyama Prefecture, which comes two weeks after a young boy was reported missing from a nearby city.
A person on a pleasure boat cruising near the Himi fishing port in Himi, Toyama Prefecture, made an emergency call to report something “floating on the surface of the sea” at around 9:25 a.m. on Sept. 4, officials said... In the neighboring city of Takaoka, police and fire services have been searching for 2-year-old Reon Takashima, who went missing from his home on the evening of Aug. 20.

Prosecutors raid ad agency Daiko as Olympic bribe scandal expands | The Asahi Shimbun

The bribery scandal involving a former Tokyo Olympics executive widened further on Sept. 5 when the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office raided the headquarters of Daiko Advertising Inc... Prosecutors believe the firm is yet another route through which firms involved with the Olympics funneled money to Haruyuki Takahashi, 78, a former executive of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee.

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News Headlines - 04 September 2022

Tokyo publisher Kadokawa now linked to Olympic bribery scandal | The Asahi Shimbun

Publisher Kadokawa Corp., a sponsor for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, paid 70 million yen ($500,000) to a consultancy linked to Haruyuki Takahashi, a former member of the organizing committee arrested in a bribery scandal surrounding the summer Games, investigative sources said... The latest revelation indicates that the scope of the bribery scandal centering on Takahashi, a former executive of advertising giant Dentsu Inc., could widen with allegations against more companies and individuals.

Japan's Kyocera founder Kazuo Inamori dies | Reuters

Kazuo Inamori, the founder of component maker Kyocera Corp and one of Japan's most influential entrepreneurs, has died at the age of 90, the company said on Tuesday.
Inamori, who died of natural causes at his Kyoto home on Aug. 24, founded Kyocera, then Kyoto Ceramic Co., in 1959 as a maker of fine ceramics, with the business becoming a leading supplier of components for smartphones and cars.
A proponent of the "amoeba management" method which devolves decision-making to regular employees, Inamori also established a second corporate heavyweight, taking advantage of telecoms deregulation in the 1980s to set up what became KDDI Corp, Japan's second largest wireless carrier.

JMA: Rainy season ended month later than initially called | The Asahi Shimbun

The Japan Meteorological Agency is putting a damper on its earlier announcement that this year’s rainy season likely ended in June in many parts of Japan, adding another month to the estimated date.
The agency previously announced on June 28 that rainy season appeared to have ended for the Kinki, Hokuriku, Chugoku, Shikoku and northern Kyushu regions.
At the time, that was heralded as the first time for a June ending in these areas since record-keeping began in 1951.

Thousands gather at ‘Czech Republic First’ rally over energy crisis | The Guardian

The Czech Republic is facing an autumn of discontent after an estimated 70,000 demonstrators gathered in Prague to protest at soaring energy bills and demand an end to sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine.
Far-right and extreme-left elements coalesced at a “Czech Republic First” rally to call for a new agreement with Moscow over gas supplies and a halt to the sending of arms to Ukraine, while urging the centre-right government of the prime minister, Petr Fiala, to resign.

Goalkeeper sent off in FA Cup qualifier for urinating in hedge | The Guardian

Goalkeeper Connor Maseko was sent off for urinating in a hedge during an English FA Cup first-round qualifying match on Saturday.
Maseko, playing for ninth-tier Blackfield & Langley, was shown a red card in the 76th minute of the goalless draw with Shepton Mallet.
After the ball went out for a goal kick, Maseko needed to use the toilet and decided to go up against a hedge. He was seen by Shepton Mallet players who drew the incident to the attention of the referee.

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News Headlines - 03 September 2022

At least 146 LDP lawmakers had dealings with Unification Church

At least 146 lawmakers from the Liberal Democratic Party have had dealings with the Unification Church or affiliated organizations, a Kyodo News survey and interviews revealed Saturday, once again highlighting the close ties between Japan's main ruling party and the religious body... Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks about the Unification Church issue at a press conference at his office in Tokyo on Aug. 31, 2022. (Kyodo)
The number of those found to have ties with the group, currently equivalent to 38 percent of the 381 LDP members in both chambers of parliament, is likely to increase once the results of an internal survey are released.

First Chinese-made high-speed train cars arrive in Indonesia | The Asahi Shimbun

An initial set of Chinese-made train cars for Indonesia's first high-speed railway arrived in Jakarta's port on Friday.
The 142.3-kilometer railway worth $5.5 billion is being constructed by PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia-China, a joint venture between an Indonesian consortium of four state-owned companies and China Railway International Co. Ltd... The railway line, which connects Jakarta and Bandung, a city in West Java province, is part of China's Belt and Road infrastructure initiative. It is expected to cut travel time between the two cities from the current three hours to about 40 minutes.

Sri Lanka’s former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa returns home from Thailand - The Hindu

Former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday returned to the country from Thailand, nearly two months after he fled the country following a massive uprising against his government over the island nation’s worst-ever economic crisis.
Mr. Rajapaksa, 73, fled the country on July 13 after months-long mass public demonstrations demanding his immediate resignation on July 9 gained momentum after protesters stormed the President’s House in Colombo and several other state buildings in the capital.

Former Kyrgyzstan president named UN envoy to Afghanistan

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has named former Kyrgyzstan president Roza Otunbayeva as the UN's new special representative for Afghanistan, his office announced Friday.
Otunbayeva became interim president of Kyrgyzstan in April 2010 after a bloody uprising forced then-leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev into exile. She relinquished power the following year after new elections were organised... She is replacing another woman, Canadian Deborah Lyons, as head of the UN mission in Afghanistan, where the rights of women and girls have been drastically curtailed since the Taliban's return to power last year.

Qatar to allow beer sales at World Cup games 3 hours before kickoff - The Korea Times

Qatar will permit ticketed fans to buy alcoholic beverages at World Cup soccer matches starting three hours before kickoff and for one hour after the final whistle, but not during the match, a source with knowledge of plans for the tournament said.
Budweiser, a major World Cup sponsor with exclusive rights to sell beer at the tournament, will sell beer within the ticketed perimeter surrounding each stadium, but not in the stadium stands or concourse, the source said.
This year's World Cup is the first to be held in a Muslim country that imposes strict controls on alcohol, presenting unique challenges for organizers of the event, which is sponsored by a major beer brand and often associated with beer-drinking fans. "Beer will be available when gates open, which is three hours before kick off. Whoever wants to have a beer will be able to. And then when they leave the stadium as well for one hour after the final whistle," the source said.

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News Headlines - 02 September 2022

Number of children on nursery waiting lists below 3,000 for first time - The Japan Times

A survey by Japan's welfare ministry showed Tuesday that the number of children on nursery waiting lists in the country as of April 1 plunged 52.3% from a year earlier to 2,944, standing below 3,000 for the first time since the survey started in 1994.
The figure was only 11.3% of the record high of 26,081, set in 2017, and marked a record low for the fourth consecutive year.

Lufthansa cancels hundreds of flights as pilots strike over pay | Reuters

Pilots at Lufthansa went on strike on Friday, forcing the German airline to cancel hundreds of flights, stranding holidaymakers.
The airline said it had cancelled about 800 flights at its main bases in Frankfurt and Munich on Friday, affecting 130,000 passengers, and said it was working flat out to minimise the impact of the strike.
Labour union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) had called on more than 5,000 Lufthansa pilots to stage a 24-hour walkout, saying the latest round of wage talks had failed.

Norwegian energy group Equinor completes Russia exit | Reuters

Equinor has completed its exit from Russia, the Norwegian energy group said on Friday, delivering on a promise made after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February.
This marks the first full, orderly exit from Russia by an international oil and gas company as pressure to leave mounts on others, such as TotalEnergies and ExxonMobil.
Equinor said on Feb. 28 that it would begin the process of divesting from joint ventures in Russia, describing its position as "untenable" after the war started the previous week.

Extinction Rebellion protesters storm House of Commons | Metro News

Eight people have been arrested after Extinction Rebellion protesters stormed the House of Commons
The environmentalist group shared a picture of three of its members glued together around the speaker’s chair.
Two others stood beside them holding up signs saying ‘Let the people decide’ and ‘Citizens’ assembly now’.

Greenpeace drops boulders in UK sea against ‘destructive’ fishing | Al Jazeera

Greenpeace UK has dropped 18 large boulders on the seabed in a marine conservation zone off the coast of southwest England to prevent “destructive” industrial fishing.
The environmental campaigners sailed to the western part of the English Channel between the UK and France, loaded with the boulders of Portland limestone, each weighing between 500 and 1,400kg (1,100 and 3,100 pounds).
The giant rocks were dropped on Thursday from its Arctic Sunrise research vessel in an area of the South West Deeps (East) Conservation Zone, which lies about 190 kilometres (120 miles) off Land’s End, the most westerly point of mainland England.

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News Headlines - 01 September 2022

France cracks down on junk mail with trial opt-in system | The Guardian

France is cracking down on the tonnes of unsolicited junk mail and advertising brochures put through letterboxes each year, warning of unnecessary waste and damage to the environment.
For more than a decade, households in France that do not want to receive piles of unaddressed advertising leaflets have been able to put a sticker on their letterbox saying “no to advertising”. But the government acknowledged this approach had failed and has changed tack.
From September, instead of people opting out of junk mail, several trial areas will have an opt-in system. Anyone who still wants to receive unaddressed advertising mailouts, such as catalogues for supermarket special offers, can display a sticker saying “yes to advertising”. For all others there will be a ban on any unaddressed flyers or advertising being put through their letterboxes.

Insurers in Japan to Narrow Scope of COVID-19 Benefits - JIJI PRESS

The Life Insurance Association of Japan urged its members Thursday to consider limiting the scope of policyholders eligible to receive COVID-19 hospitalization benefits.
Member insurers are free to set their own standards for payouts, but many are expected to make the recommended change as early as this month.
The move reflects the health ministry's shift to requiring detailed infection reports only on cases involving people with high risks of developing severe symptoms.

Arrested Tokyo 2020 sponsor exec says he gave cash to Japan's ex-PM Mori: report - Japan Today

The former chairman of Tokyo Olympics sponsor Aoki Holdings has told prosecutors he gave 2 million yen ($14,300) in cash to the head of the Games' organizing committee, former prime minister Yoshiro Mori, the Sankei daily reported.
Hironori Aoki, who was arrested last month for suspected bribery involving another Tokyo 2020 executive, told prosecutors he handed Mori the cash over two occasions while the latter was head of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, the paper said on Thursday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Toyota will cut ties with actor Kagawa in light of scandal | The Asahi Shimbun

Following a sexual harassment scandal involving Japanese actor Teruyuki Kagawa, Toyota Motor Corp. said it will not renew his contract after it expires at the end of the year.
Commercials featuring the actor have already been suspended.
The weekly magazine Shukan Shincho reported that Kagawa, 56, inappropriately touched the body of a hostess at a club in Tokyo's Ginza district in 2019.

Ex-SDF member demands probe into sexual assault claims at Japan base - The Mainichi

A former Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) member on Aug. 31 asked the Ministry of Defense to conduct a third-party investigation into sexual abuse she says she suffered while serving, with 105,296 signatures she collected online supporting her action.

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News Headlines - 31 August 2022

Jimmy Lai-connected Apple Daily Taiwan to shut down - Nikkei Asia

Apple Daily Taiwan, a news outlet with ties to detained Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, said on Tuesday it would turn off the lights on Aug. 31, quelling rumors of a sale.
Apple Daily Taiwan, one of the island's leading news platform, is owned by a company founded by Lai and was thrown into turmoil by his arrest in 2020. Local media had reported that Singaporean entrepreneur Joseph Phua was in talks to buy Apple Daily Taiwan, but Phua held a press conference on Tuesday announcing instead the launch of Next Apple News on Sept. 1. The new website will hire 96% of the more than 200 staff laid off from Apple Daily Taiwan.

Japan court rules ordinance limiting computer-game play constitutional | NHK WORLD

A court in western Japan has dismissed a suit claiming that a prefectural ordinance restricting computer-game use infringes upon players' constitutional rights.
In 2020, Kagawa Prefecture became the first jurisdiction in the country to set out legal guidelines with the aim of tackling computer-game and internet addiction... In the year the ordinance was enacted, a man who was in high school at the time and his mother filed a lawsuit, claiming that players should be allowed to set their own limits.
The suit argued that the ordinance violated the constitutionally guaranteed right to self-determination and privacy.

Japan has 'low incidence of tuberculosis' for 1st time - The Mainichi

Japan has joined countries with a "low incidence of tuberculosis" for the first time with less than 10 TB patients per 100,000 people diagnosed in 2021, the health ministry said Tuesday... The ministry said that in 2021, the number of TB cases per 100,000 population came to 9.2, the first time the number had fallen below 10 since the ministry began keeping records in the 1950s.
The World Health Organization classifies countries with fewer than 10 TB cases per 100,000 population per year as those with a low incidence of TB. In 2020, 57 countries belonged to the category.

Cataclysmic floods in Pakistan kill 1,100, including 380 children | Reuters

Torrential rains and flooding have submerged a third of Pakistan and killed more than 1,100 people, including 380 children as the United Nations appealed for aid on Tuesday for what it described as an "unprecedented climate catastrophe."... The country has received nearly 190% more rain than the 30-year average in the quarter through August this year, totalling 390.7 millimetres (15.38 inches). Sindh province, with a population of 50 million, was hardest hit, getting 466% more rain than the 30-year average.

Madagascar: Police say officers killed 19 in albino protest | DW

Madagascar police said on Tuesday that officers killed 19 people and injured 21 after opening fire on a crowd of protesters that allegedly tried to storm a police station in the southeastern district of Ikongo on Monday.
Police said the group of around 500 protesters were carrying "weapons" and were demanding that four people suspected of kidnapping an albino child and killing the child's mother be handed over to them.

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News Headlines - 30 August 2022

Fukushima town in Japan lifts evacuation order 11 years after nuclear disaster - CNN

More than a decade after Japan's worst nuclear disaster, the town that hosts the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant finally lifted its evacuation order on Tuesday, allowing former residents to come home.
The town of Futaba, previously deemed off-limits, is the last of 11 districts to lift its evacuation order, a spokesman for the town's municipal office told CNN.

Japanese scientist sets new national record for deep-sea exploration | NHK WORLD

NHK has learned that a Japanese scientist was among the members of an international deep-sea exploration team who reached a depth of 9,801 meters in a recent mission. This marks a new record for Japanese explorers of the ocean's depths.
The international team includes scientists from Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology and Nagoya University. They reported that an undersea probe reached the deepest point of the Ogasawara Trench on August 13.

China-friendly Solomon Islands suspends all foreign naval visits as tensions rise | South China Morning Post

Solomon Islands has suspended visits from all foreign navies, citing a need to review approval processes, the country’s leader said on Tuesday, after a US coastguard was unable to refuel at its port.
The decision comes amid concerns over the Solomons’ growing ties with China in recent years, switching diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 2019 and signing a security pact with the Asian power in April.

Iraq protesters begin withdrawal after Sadr appeal as clashes kill 30 – Gulf News

Iraqi supporters of powerful cleric Moqtada Sadr began withdrawing on Tuesday from Baghdad’s Green Zone after he demanded fighting end between rival Shiite forces and the army that left 30 dead and hundreds wounded.
The violence that erupted on Monday pitched Sadr loyalists against Shiite factions backed by neighbouring Iran, with the sides exchanging gunfire across barricades - violence the United Nations warned risked tipping the war-ravaged country deeper into chaos.

“Fast & Furious” filming protested by Angelino Heights residents - Los Angeles Times

The “Fast & Furious” franchise made Angelino Heights a tourist destination ever since its first movie was released in 2001.
Now, residents are protesting the franchise’s return to filming in the Los Angeles neighborhood Friday because they believe it encourages illegal and dangerous street takeovers.

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News Headlines - 29 August 2022

Thai court suspends PM Prayuth pending term limit review | The Guardian

Thailand’s prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, has been suspended from office by the constitutional court while it considers whether he has overstayed the limits of his term.
The court agreed to hear a case brought by opposition MPs, who say Prayuth, who came to power in a coup in 2014, should have left office this week. Under Thailand’s constitution, prime ministers are barred from ruling for more than eight years.
The court said in a statement that Prayuth would be suspended until a verdict was reached.

PM tells education minister to review 300,000 foreign students plan | NHK WORLD

Kishida held talks with education minister Nagaoka Keiko online on Monday, during which they exchanged views on new themes to discuss at the Council for the Creation of Future Education.
Kishida asked Nagaoka to revamp the current Plan for 300,000 Exchange Students, which aims to boost the number of foreign students studying in Japan.

China's Henan police arrest 234 over rural banking scandal | Reuters

Police in China’s Henan province have arrested 234 suspects in connection with a rural banking scandal, the public security bureau of the province’s Xuchang city said on Monday.
Deposits worth at least $1.5 billion at a handful of small lenders in Henan have been frozen since April in what authorities have said was a complex scam that has sparked protests and renewed concerns about the 4,000 small banks operating across China.

Last member of Indigenous Brazilian tribe dies after avoiding contact for decades - CBS News

After avoiding years of contact with the outside world, an Indigenous man known only as "The Man of the Hole," has died, according to Brazil's government agency the National Indian Foundation. The man was the only inhabitant of the Tanaru Indigenous Territory in the western Amazon.
The agency first confirmed the Native man's death on Saturday. In a note written in Portuguese, the agency said that he had been living in isolation for at least 26 years and was the only survivor of his community. His ethnicity, they said, was not known.
Agency officials found his body inside a hammock at his hut on Aug. 23 during a round of monitoring and territorial surveillance, they said, adding there were no traces of other people, violence or struggle at the site. They believe his death was due to natural causes and said a medical examiner will confirm what caused his passing.

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News Headlines - 28 August 2022

32 killed in Libya’s Tripoli as fears grow of a wider war | Al Jazeera

Clashes between militias backed by Libya’s rival governments have killed at least 32 people and wounded 159 more, according to the country’s health ministry.
The fighting in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, on Saturday was the worst there in two years and has raised fears the country could plunge back into full-blown war... The standoff for power in Libya has pitted the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity (GNU) under Abdul Hamid Dbeibah against a rival administration under Fathi Bashagha that is backed by the eastern-based parliament.

Russia to hand over three bodies from Hokkaido boat tragedy | The Asahi Shimbun

Japan has reached agreement with Russia to collect the bodies of two men and a woman who drowned when their sightseeing boat sank off the scenic Shiretoko Peninsula in eastern Hokkaido in April, sources said... The bodies of a man and a woman washed up in Kunashiri, one of the islands known in Japan as the Northern Territories that are controlled by Moscow but claimed by Tokyo. Another body was found in Sakhalin.

Baba elected new leader of Japanese opposition Nippon Ishin - The Japan News

Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) co-leader Nobuyuki Baba was elected new chief of the Japanese opposition party Saturday.
At a press conference after the leadership election to pick the successor to Ichiro Matsui, Baba, 57, said he will name deputy party chief Hirofumi Yoshimura, governor of Osaka Prefecture, as co-leader of the party.

Dogs shed more tears over owners than strangers | NHK WORLD

Researchers at Azabu University published their findings in the magazine Current Biology on Tuesday.
The scientists compared the volume of dogs' tears before and after being reunited with their owners following more than five hours of separation.
They found the amount of tears increased significantly by an average of 15.9 percent after being with their owners. But there was no change when dogs were with someone they didn't know.

Ichiro expresses gratitude entering Mariners Hall of Fame | AP News

Ichiro Suzuki was inducted into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame on Saturday night, giving his entire 16-minute speech in English while reflecting on his career.
Suzuki became the 10th member of Seattle’s Hall of Fame, joining former teammates Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Jamie Moyer, Jay Buhner and Dan Wilson who had previously been honored by the club. All but Buhner were in attendance.

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News Headlines - 27 August 2022

Kishida says Japan will invest 30 billion dollars in Africa | NHK WORLD

Prime Minister Kishida Fumio says Japan's public and private sectors will invest 30 billion dollars over the next three years to support growth in Africa.
In an online address to the Tokyo International Conference on African Development or TICAD on Saturday, Kishida said Africa is a continent that is young, filled with hope and dynamic.

Cabinet approves 250 million yen to hold state funeral for Abe | The Asahi Shimbun

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet on Aug. 26 approved spending of 249.4 million yen ($1.8 million) from the reserve fund to hold a state funeral for slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The funds will be used to lease the Nippon Budokan hall in the capital’s Chiyoda Ward as well as prepare the facility for the Sept. 27 funeral.
The allocation does not cover the cost of providing security for the overseas dignitaries and other VIPs who are expected to attend.

AFP, ABF discover record fentanyl seizure in machinery sent from Canada to Melbourne - ABC News

The Australia Federal Police (AFP) and Australia Border Force (ABF) today announced the seizure of 11 kilograms of fentanyl and 30kg of methamphetamine found inside an industrial wooden lathe — machinery used for wood or metal working — that arrived at the Port of Melbourne from Canada in December last year... Australia has only ever recorded illicit fentanyl importations of less than 30g, with the first case in 2017.

Europe's drought the worst in 500 years - report - BBC News

Two-thirds of Europe is under some sort of drought warning, in what is likely the worst such event in 500 years.
The latest report from the Global Drought Observatory says 47% of the continent is in "warning" conditions, meaning soil has dried up.
Another 17% is on alert - meaning vegetation "shows signs of stress".

Princess Diana's Ford Escort sells for £650K at auction - BBC News

A car which was used by the late Diana, Princess of Wales has sold for £650,000 at auction.
Princess Diana, who died nearly 25 years ago, drove the black Ford Escort RS Turbo for nearly three years from August 1985... The car, registration C462FHK, was eventually sold by Silverstone Auctions in Warwickshire to a buyer in Cheshire.

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News Headlines - 26 August 2022

Koike: Tokyo to maintain policy of reporting all COVID-19 cases | The Asahi Shimbun

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said Aug. 25 that doctors in the capital will continue to report all new COVID-19 cases every day, despite the central government’s decision to ease that burden on medical workers.
Koike told a regular COVID-19 monitoring meeting that the existing requirement of having doctors submit reports on all new cases is useful for grasping the overall infection situation and patients’ conditions in Tokyo. She said medical services can make good use of this information.

Colombia cocaine: Petro pursues decriminalization - The Washington Post

It’s the largest producer of cocaine in the world, the source of more than 90 percent of the drug seized in the United States. It’s home to the largest Drug Enforcement Administration office overseas. And for decades, it’s been a key partner in Washington’s never-ending “war on drugs.”
Now, Colombia is calling for an end to that war. It wants instead to lead a global experiment: decriminalizing cocaine.
Two weeks after taking office, the country’s first leftist government is proposing an end to “prohibition” and the start of a government-regulated cocaine market. Through legislation and alliances with other leftist governments in the region, officials in this South American nation hope to turn their country into a laboratory for drug decriminalization.

Morocco Decides Not to Participate in TICAD Summit; Recalls Ambassador in Tunis for Consultations | Maroc.ma

Morocco has decided not to participate in the 8th TICAD Summit to be held in Tunisia on August 27 and 28 and to immediately recall its Ambassador in Tunis for consultations, in light of the attitude of this country within the framework of the Japan-Africa Cooperation Forum process, which blatantly confirms its hostility towards the Kingdom, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad said on Friday... Against the advice of Japan and in violation of the preparation process and the established rules, Tunisia decided unilaterally to invite the separatist entity, according to the same source.
The reception given by the Tunisian Head of State to the leader of the separatist militia is a serious and unprecedented act, which deeply offends the feelings of the Moroccan people and its forces.

Angola’s ruling party leads in early election results

The ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) is leading in the general elections, according to provisional results released on Thursday by the National Electoral Commission (CNE).
With 33% of the votes counted, the MPLA garnered 60.65% or 1,219,571 votes followed by its main competitor, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), which received 33.85% or 680,745 votes.
Angolans voted Wednesday in the country’s fifth multi-party elections to choose a president and 220 members of parliament. Eight parties ran in the election but the competition narrowed to the MPLA and UNITA.

No more Squirrels: Benin football team change their nickname to Cheetahs | The Guardian

Benin have opted to ditch their “Squirrels” nickname and will be known as the Cheetahs from Monday, the west African country’s football federation said.
The old “les Écureuils” moniker has long been criticised by Benin fans who felt the small size of a squirrels meant their team were also considered to be insignificant. Hence the football federation has chosen a bolder nickname, along the lines of Cameroon’s “Indomitable Lions” or the “Elephants” of nearby Ivory Coast... The federation has decided on cheetahs, or as will be commonly used in the country’s official language French, “Guepards”.

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News Headlines - 25 August 2022

Report: Better planning would have prevented Abe slaying | The Asahi Shimbun

Improved security planning and on-site protection afforded to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a campaign speech in Nara city likely would have prevented his assassination.
That is a conclusion the National Police Agency reached in a report released on Aug. 25 about the shooting incident.
The NPA also has decided to strengthen its involvement in overseeing security plans rather than leave such duties up to prefectural police.

Japan police chief to resign over Abe shooting death | AP News

Japan’s national police chief said Thursday he will resign to take responsibility over shortfalls in security that an investigation by his own agency showed did not adequately safeguard former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from a fatal shooting of at a campaign speech last month.
National Police Agency Chief Itaru Nakamura’s announcement came as his agency released a report blaming flaws in police protection — from planning to guarding at the scene — that led to Abe’s assassination July 8 in Nara in western Japan.

TEPCO Delays Fukushima N-Fuel Debris Removal Again | JIJI PRESS

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. will delay the start from this year to the second half of fiscal 2023 of the removal of melted nuclear fuel debris from the No. 2 reactor at its disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, company officials said Thursday.
It is the second time for the company to postpone the start of the debris removal... TEPCO initially planned to start the debris removal on a trial basis in 2021. But it postponed the start to 2022, citing a delay in preparations due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The second postponement comes after the company found it necessary to improve a robot arm for the removal as a result of a test of the robot arm conducted from February this year.

Toyota expels Hino from commercial vehicle partnership on testing misconduct - Just Auto

Toyota has expelled its Japanese commercial vehicle subsidiary Hino from a partnership group over an engine testing scandal.
Toyota said in a statement that the Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies Corporation (CJPT) has announced its decision to expel Hino Motors, Ltd. (Hino) in light of Hino’s misconduct concerning certification testing.

Half of China hit by drought in worst heatwave on record - CNA

A crippling drought exacerbated by a record heatwave has spread out across half of China and reached the normally frigid Tibetan Plateau, according to official data released ahead of more searing temperatures on Thursday (Aug 25).
The world's second-largest economy has been hit by heatwaves, flash floods and droughts - phenomena that scientists say are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change.
Southern China has recorded its longest continuous period of high temperatures since records began more than 60 years ago, the agriculture ministry said this week.

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News Headlines - 24 August 2022

Japan to revise nationwide coronavirus reporting system | NHK WORLD

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has announced that his government will revise the current system for reporting nationwide coronavirus cases, to ease the burden on healthcare workers.
Medical institutions in Japan are currently required to register all infected people they've identified into a state-run system. Their staff must enter those people's names, dates of birth and other details... He said he will let local governments decide whether to narrow their detailed reports to specific groups, such as the elderly, people who need to be hospitalized, and those who are at risk of becoming seriously ill and require medication.

Japan signals return to nuclear power to stabilise energy supply | Al Jazeera

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has instructed his government to consider developing safer, smaller nuclear reactors, signalling a renewed emphasis on nuclear energy years after many of the country’s plants were shut down.
The comments on Wednesday from Kishida – who also said the government would look at extending the lifespan of existing reactors – highlight how the Ukraine crisis and soaring energy costs have forced a change in public opinion and a policy rethink towards nuclear power.
The government had previously insisted it was not considering building new plants or replacing aged reactors, apparently to avoid stoking criticisms from people wary of nuclear fuel following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster.

Fighting resumes in northern Ethiopia after five-month lull

Fighting erupted between government forces and Tigrayan rebels in northern Ethiopia on Wednesday, shattering a five-month truce between the warring sides.
The renewed warfare follows both sides repeatedly blaming the other for a lack of progress towards negotiations to end the brutal 21-month conflict in Africa's second most populous nation.

European Championships Munich 2022: Dina Asher-Smith calls for more period sports science - BBC Sport

Dina Asher-Smith has called for more research into the effect of periods on performance after her cycle caused her to pull up with cramp at Munich 2022.
Defending champion Asher-Smith initially thought her recovery strategy or hydration may be to blame after she limped out of Tuesday's 100m final.
But, after qualifying fastest for Friday's 200m final, Asher-Smith said "girls' stuff" caused her calf cramp.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy launch 'TGL', a 'tech-infused golf league' in partnership with PGA Tour | Sky Sports

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have joined forces to launch a new "tech-fused golf league", a team event featuring PGA Tour players designed to engage with a new TV audience.
The league, run in partnership with the PGA Tour, will launch in 2024 and feature six teams of three PGA Tour players competing over 18 holes on a "data-rich, virtual course complete with a tech-infused, short-game complex."

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News Headlines - 23 August 2022

China punishes 27 people over ‘tragically ugly’ illustrations in maths textbook | The Guardian

Chinese authorities have punished 27 people over the publication of a maths textbook that went viral over its “tragically ugly” illustrations... The mathematics books were published by the People’s Education Press almost 10 years ago, and were reportedly used in elementary schools across the country. But they went viral in May after a teacher published photos of the illustrations inside, including people with distorted faces and bulging pants, boys pictures grabbing girls’ skirts and at least one child with an apparent leg tattoo.

Former Malaysian PM Najib sent to jail for graft after losing final appeal | The Japan Times

Malaysia’s top court ordered former prime minister Najib Razak to begin a 12-year prison sentence on Tuesday after upholding a guilty conviction on charges related to a multi-billion dollar graft scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
The Federal Court ruling caps the stunning downfall of Najib, who until four years ago governed Malaysia with an iron grip and suppressed local investigations of the 1MDB scandal that has implicated financial institutions and high-ranking officials worldwide.

Japan reports record 343 daily COVID-19 deaths

Japan saw a record 343 daily COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday amid the ongoing seventh wave of coronavirus infections, exceeding the previous high of 327 logged during the previous wave in late February, according to a tally of new cases across the country.
The death toll is also quickly mounting as monthly virus-related deaths exceeded 5,000 for the first time on Tuesday with more than a week left to go in August.Newly confirmed infections also reached 208,551 after dipping under 200,000 the previous day, heightening concern that as infection cases remain high, related deaths are likely to increase further.

Women Post Partying Photos in Solidarity With Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin - Bloomberg

Professional women are taking the motto “work hard, play hard” to new heights in support of Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin after video footage of the political leader dancing and partying with friends caused blowback from critics and local media.
In posts on LinkedIn with the hashtag #SolidarityWithSanna, women are posting pictures of themselves dancing and hanging out with friends. The trend on the social platform that’s mostly geared toward professional networking follows similar posts on Twitter and other platforms that tagged Marin.

Your Doppelgänger Is Out There and You Probably Share DNA With Them - The New York Times

In a study published Tuesday in the journal Cell Reports, Dr. Esteller and his team recruited 32 pairs of look-alikes from Mr. Brunelle’s photographs to take DNA tests and complete questionnaires about their lifestyles. The researchers used facial recognition software to quantify the similarities between the participants’ faces. Sixteen of those 32 pairs achieved similar overall scores to identical twins analyzed by the same software. The researchers then compared the DNA of these 16 pairs of doppelgängers to see if their DNA was as similar as their faces.
Dr. Esteller found that the 16 pairs who were “true” look-alikes shared significantly more of their genes than the other 16 pairs that the software deemed less similar. “These people really look alike because they share important parts of the genome, or the DNA sequence,” he said. That people who look more alike have more genes in common “would seem like common sense, but never had been shown,” he added.
However, DNA alone doesn’t tell the whole story of our makeup. Our lived experiences, and those of our ancestors, influence which of our genes are switched on or off — what scientists call our epigenomes. 

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News Headlines - 22 August 2022

Support for Kishida Cabinet dives to 36% after reshuffle: Mainichi poll - The Mainichi

Support for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has plummeted to 36%, the lowest since its inauguration last October, a poll conducted on Aug. 20 and 21 by the Mainichi Shimbun and Japan's Social Survey Research Center has found.
The approval rating of the Cabinet stood at 36%, down 16 percentage points from the 52% rating in the previous poll conducted on July 16 and 17. The disapproval rating was 54%, up 17 points from the 37% recorded in the July poll.

Toyota unit Hino halts light truck shipments as data scandal widens | Reuters

Japan's Hino Motors will suspend shipments of small trucks after confirming that a widespread data falsification scandal included those models, it said on Monday, highlighting deepening problems at the Toyota Motor Corp unit.
Truck and bus maker Hino's President Satoshi Ogiso told a news conference that during a transport ministry investigation additional misconduct regarding emissions was found that affects more than 76,000 vehicles.
The scandal, which came to light in March, was previously not believed to have impacted the smaller trucks, which have been sold since 2019.

Sony PlayStation being sued for £5bn amid claims it 'ripped off' nine million consumers | Sky News

Sony PlayStation is being sued for £5bn by nine million claimants amid accusations it "ripped people off" with overpriced games and in-game purchases.
The legal claim is a collective action against the gaming company, brought by consumer rights champion Alex Neill. It accuses the company of breach of competition law by abusing its market power to impose unfair terms and conditions on game developers and publishers, forcing up prices for consumers.

Girl, 15, said Shibuya stabbing was a dry run for killing her family | The Asahi Shimbun

A junior high school girl arrested over the random stabbing of a mother and daughter in Tokyo on Aug. 20 told police the attack was a rehearsal to kill her own family, according to investigative sources.
“It was a dry run to kill my mother and younger brother,” the 15-year-old girl told investigators, sources said. “I stabbed (them) to find out if I can kill people.”

It Now Costs $300,000 to Raise a Child - WSJ

The cost of raising a child through high school has risen to more than $300,000 because of inflation that is running close to a four-decade high, according to a Brookings Institution estimate.
It determined that a married, middle-income couple with two children would spend $310,605—or an average of $18,271 a year—to raise their younger child born in 2015 through age 17. The calculation uses an earlier government estimate as a baseline, with adjustments for inflation trends.
The multiyear total is up $26,011, or more than 9%, from a calculation based on the inflation rate two years ago, before rapid price increases hit the economy, the Brookings Institution said.

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News Headlines - 21 August 2022

Japan PM Kishida tests positive for COVID-19, symptoms mild: gov't

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida tested positive Sunday for the novel coronavirus, a day before he was to resume his duties, but his symptoms are mild, the premier's office said.
Kishida started experiencing symptoms such as a slight fever and cough from Saturday night, according to the office.

Beijing ‘actively searching’ for missing Hong Kong residents held captive in Southeast Asia | South China Morning Post

A total of 12 Hongkongers had been detained against their will and at least two of them held for ransom so far this year after they were conned into flying to Southeast Asian countries in employment fraud and internet love scams, an emerging crime trend that has sparked a pledge from the central government to protect the city’s residents overseas.

Singapore to scrap anti-gay sex law, amend constitution to prevent marriage equality | South China Morning Post

Singapore will repeal an archaic law criminalising sex between men to reflect “current social mores”, but will simultaneously amend its constitution to protect existing laws barring marriage equality, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sunday.

RAF 'pauses job offers for white men' to meet 'impossible' diversity targets | Sky News

The head of RAF recruitment has resigned in protest at an "effective pause" on offering jobs to white male recruits in favour of women and ethnic minorities, defence sources have claimed.
The senior female officer apparently handed in her notice in recent days amid concerns that any such restrictions on hiring, however temporary and limited, could undermine the fighting strength of the Royal Air Force (RAF), the sources said.
They said the service was attempting to hit "impossible" diversity targets.

Majority of Germans dissatisfied with government and Scholz: poll

A total of 62 percent of those questioned said they were dissatisfied with Scholz's work since he became Chancellor in December 2021, according to the poll, which was commissioned by German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
Only 25 percent rated Scholz positively.
People's opinions of the so-called traffic light coalition government (SPD, FDP and Greens) were similarly poor: 65 percent rated the government's work negatively while 27 percent said they were happy with the job they'd done so far.

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News Headlines - 20 August 2022

Former Attorney General of Mexico arrested over multiple charges related to disappearance of 43 students - CNN

The former attorney general of Mexico was arrested on Friday in relation to the 2014 disappearance of 43 students, a tragedy that captured the world’s attention nearly eight years ago.
The prosecutor’s office said in a statement that it considers former attorney general Jesús Murillo Karam a suspect in “the crimes of forced disappearance, torture and against the administration of justice.”
... His arrest comes one day after a government truth commission said that the students’ disappearance was a “crime of the state,” in a report based on thousands of documents, text messages, phone records, testimonies and other forms of evidence.

Billionaire Xiao Jianhua jailed for 13 years in China | The Guardian

Xiao Jianhua, a Chinese-Canadian billionaire at the centre of an alleged abduction scandal in Hong Kong in 2017, has been sentenced by a Shanghai court to 13 years in prison and his company fined a record 55.03bn yuan (£6.8bn).
Xiao, 50, and his Tomorrow Holdings conglomerate were charged with illegally absorbing public deposits, betraying the use of entrusted property, and the illegal use of funds and bribery, the Shanghai first intermediate court said.

Nippon Steel Failed to Report Cyanide Water Leaks | JIJI PRESS

Nippon Steel Corp. has said that it failed to properly report leaks of water containing highly toxic cyanide from a key plant in eastern Japan on 39 occasions from February 2019.

22 million face starvation in Horn of Africa: WFP

The number of people at risk of starvation in the drought-ravaged Horn of Africa has increased to 22 million, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) said Friday... An unprecedented four failed rainy seasons has killed millions of livestock, destroyed crops, and forced 1.1 million people from their homes in search of food and water.

Thousands gather to fete South Africa’s new Zulu king | Al Jazeera

Thousands of people gathered at the Zulu royal palace in South Africa for the coronation of a new king in the country’s richest and most influential traditional monarchy.
Misuzulu Zulu, 47, is set to succeed his father, Goodwill Zwelithini, who died in March last year after 50 years in charge, but a bitter succession dispute threatened to overshadow the ceremony.
Although the title of king does not bestow executive power, the monarchs wield great moral influence over more than 11 million Zulus, who make up nearly one-fifth of South Africa’s population.

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News Headlines - 19 August 2022

Japan posts fresh record of over 260,000 daily COVID-19 cases

Japan posted more than 260,000 daily coronavirus infections on Friday, setting a new record high for a second straight day.
The figure apparently reflected increased movements by people during Japan's Bon summer holidays in mid-August. Of the country's 47 prefectures, 19 reported record high numbers of daily infections.

Japan July core consumer prices up 2.4%, biggest rise in 7.5 years

Core consumer prices in Japan rose 2.4 percent in July from a year earlier, marking the sharpest increase in about seven and half years amid surging material and energy prices, government data showed Friday.
The nationwide core consumer price index, excluding volatile fresh food items, was up for the 11th consecutive month, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.
The rise was the sharpest since December 2014, when the index hit 2.5 percent after a consumption tax hike in April that year. Without the effect of that tax increase, July's core CPI was the highest since August 2008, according to the ministry.

Japan bestows Bill Gates with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun|Arab News Japan

Japan on Thursday awarded the co-founder of Microsoft Corp and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates with the highest honor, the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun for his notable contributions in the field of global health.

Crisis-hit Sri Lanka to ask Japan to open talks with main creditors, says Wickremesinghe | Reuters

Sri Lanka will ask Japan to invite the Indian Ocean island's main creditor nations, including China and India, to talks on bilateral debt restructuring as it seeks a way out of its worst economic crisis in decades, its president said on Thursday... Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people off India's southern tip, is facing its most severe financial crisis since independence from Britain in 1948, resulting from the combined impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic mismanagement.

Mexico calls disappearance of 43 students a 'state crime' | Reuters

Mexican officials on Thursday called the 2014 disappearance of 43 students a state crime that was covered up by the government, in another damning assessment of the previous administration's actions regarding one of Mexico's worst human rights atrocities... The case sparked international outrage over disappearances and impunity in Mexico, and did lasting damage to the administration of then-president Enrique Pena Nieto, particularly as international human rights experts criticized the official inquiry as riddled with errors and abuses.

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News Headlines - 18 August 2022

U.S. Plans to Shift Bill for Covid Shots and Treatments to Insurers, Patients - WSJ

The Biden administration is planning for an end to its practice of paying for Covid-19 shots and treatments, shifting more control of pricing and coverage to the healthcare industry in ways that could generate sales for companies—and costs for consumers—for years to come.

UK transport strikes set to heighten summer of disruption as pay talks stall | Financial Times

The most significant action will come on Thursday and Saturday, when more than 50,000 members of the RMT and TSSA unions stage two 24-hour strikes at Network Rail, which operates the country’s rail infrastructure, and train operating companies in a row over pay, potential job losses and working practices... Meanwhile, swaths of the London Underground and Overground rail network will close for 24 hours on Friday when RMT members walk out for the fifth time this year in a separate dispute over pay and pensions with Transport for London, which runs the capital’s bus, train and tube network.
More than 1,600 London bus drivers are also expected to strike on Friday and Saturday in a dispute over pay between the Unite union and bus operator London United, a subsidiary of France’s RATP.

Indian gang ran fake police station out of hotel for eight months | The Guardian

An Indian gang operated a fake police station from a hotel for eight months where they dressed up as officers and are believed to have extorted money from hundreds of people, an official has said... The gang in Bihar state set up shop barely 500 metres from the home of the actual local police chief and wore uniforms with rank badges and carried guns, the – real – police official DC Srivastava said on Thursday.
They would then charge money to local people coming into the fake station to file complaints and cases, while pocketing cash from others by promising to help them secure social housing or jobs in the police.

Unification Church followers decry 'biased' Japanese media - The Mainichi

Thousands of Unification Church followers rallied in South Korea on Thursday protesting negative Japanese media coverage of their religion after the suspect in the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe blamed the church for his family's troubles.
The protesters, mostly Japanese followers who settled in South Korea after marrying Korean spouses, insisted the Japanese reports were being driven by anti-Unification Church pundits, lawyers and Protestant pastors who "groundlessly" blame their church for Abe's death.

Hanae Mori, renowned Japanese fashion designer, dies at 96

Pioneering Japanese fashion designer Hanae Mori, who gained international acclaim for her designs themed on "East meets West," died on Aug. 11 of old age at her Tokyo home, her office said. She was 96.
The fashion trailblazer, known for her butterfly motifs, became the first Japanese person to be listed as an official "haute couture" designer in Paris in 1977. Mori presented her collections for decades in Japan and abroad until retiring in 2004.

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News Headlines - 17 August 2022

Ex-Tokyo Olympic exec Takahashi arrested on bribery suspicion

A former Tokyo Olympic organizing committee executive who had wielded huge influence in sports circles was arrested by prosecutors Wednesday on suspicion of receiving bribes totaling around 51 million yen ($380,000) from major business suit retailer Aoki Holdings Inc... In addition to Haruyuki Takahashi, 78, a former senior managing director of Japan's largest advertising agency Dentsu Inc., the prosecutors arrested Hironori Aoki, a former chairman of the retailer, and two other people in connection with the case unfolding about a year after the Tokyo Olympics.

Hagiuda speech held at facility with Unification Church ties | The Asahi Shimbun

Koichi Hagiuda, the new policy chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, gave a speech at a facility tied to the Unification Church just before the Upper House election campaign kicked off in June.
Hagiuda’s office confirmed an Aug. 16 report by the online news site Daily Shincho that he visited the facility in Hachioji, western Tokyo, on June 18 with Akiko Ikuina, who was planning to run in the election from the Tokyo electoral district... Ikuina won her first Diet seat in the July 10 election with the backing of the LDP.

Mizuho Bank hit with negative rate on deposits to BOJ account | The Asahi Shimbun

For the first time ever, Mizuho Bank was charged negative interest rates on deposits made to its Bank of Japan account--something expected to cost the megabank 75 million yen ($560,000).
The negative rates were applied to deposits made to its account there from July to August, according to BOJ statistics released on Aug. 16 and Mizuho Bank officials.
The central bank introduced negative interest rates in 2016 as part of its monetary easing policies to encourage private-sector banks to increase loans to companies or make more investments in them.

Prosecutors raid ex-defense chief’s home over North Korea’s killing of official | NK News

Seoul prosecutors raided the homes and offices of former defense minister Suh Wook and two other high-ranking officials from the Moon administration on Tuesday, in connection with allegations that they mishandled an investigation into North Korea’s killing of an ROK fisheries official in 2020.

American Airlines Agrees To Buy 20 Supersonic Jets From Boom

American Airlines has agreed to purchase 20 supersonic Overture planes from Boom Supersonic, both companies announced Tuesday. That’s five more than the 15 Overture jets that United Airlines ordered last year. Overture’s order book, including purchases and options from Japan Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, the U.S. Air Force and other customers, stands at 130 aircraft.
Not bad for a jet that has yet to become a reality. Boom expects to roll out the first Overture model in 2025 at its new plant in North Carolina, with the jet entering commercial service by the tail end of this decade.

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News Headlines - 16 August 2022

Hedge fund Elliott dumps SoftBank stake after souring on Masayoshi Son | Financial Times

Hedge fund Elliott Management has dumped almost all of its position in Japan’s SoftBank, in the latest sign of growing investor unease in the fortunes of the world’s biggest technology investment group.
The US-based activist investor has decided to effectively end its multiyear bet on SoftBank by selling down the vast majority of its remaining shareholding, having previously bought as much as $2.5bn in the group, according to people familiar with the trade.
One of these people said Elliott made its move after losing conviction in the Japanese group’s billionaire founder Masayoshi Son and his ability to close the huge gap between the value of SoftBank’s various holdings and its market capitalisation.

Germany to Keep Last Three Nuclear-Power Plants Running in Policy U-Turn - WSJ

Germany plans to postpone the closure of the country’s last three nuclear power plants as it braces for a possible shortage of energy this winter after Russia throttled gas supplies to the country, said German government officials.

Man convicted of child sexual abuse dies after prosecutor says he 'chugged' liquid in court as verdict was being read | CNN

A Texas man died Thursday shortly after being convicted of child sexual abuse. The prosecutor said Edward Leclair was seen drinking a bottle of liquid before having a medical emergency.
“As these verdicts were being read, he chugged a bottle of water he had at counsel table,” Denton County Assistant District Attorney Jamie Beck told CNN Friday. Leclair was facing five counts of child sexual abuse relating to the same victim, Beck said, and had been free on bond until the verdict.
“Our investigator noticed him chug the water,” Beck said, saying it appeared cloudy.

500 more wildfires this year than whole of 2021 - fire chief - BBC News

Mark Hardingham, chairman of the National Fire Chiefs Council, said hot and dry weather had combined to create the perfect conditions for wildfires.
So far in 2022, he said there had been 745 wildfires in the UK - more than a 200% increase from the total figure of 247 for all of last year.

Heathrow Airport extends cap on passengers to end of October - BBC News

Heathrow is to extend a cap on the number of passengers flying from the airport until the end of October due to staff shortages... After consulting with airlines, a daily limit of 100,000 departing passengers will now apply until 29 October, the airport said.

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News Headlines - 15 August 2022

Over 100 Japan lawmakers had links with Unification Church: survey | The Japan Times

More than 100 of all the 712 lawmakers in Japan have had some connections with the controversial Unification Church, with nearly 80% of them belonging to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, a Kyodo News survey showed Saturday.
In the survey with a response rate of over 80%, 106 had links with the church such as attending events hosted by entities associated with the religious group, which has come under renewed attention following former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's assassination last month, or receiving electoral cooperation from its members.

<▽Heizo Takenaka: Convincing Background of His “Exoneration” From Pasona & Orix | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Heizo Takenaka, 71, a professor emeritus at Keio University who has been a major presence in the political and business world, has reached a turning point: on July 19, Pasona Group, a major staffing agency, announced that Takenaka will step down as chairman in August... In addition, ORIX also announced in April that Takenaka would step down as a director.

William Ruto declared winner of Kenya presidential election amid dispute | The Guardian

William Ruto has been declared the winner of Kenya’s presidential election, amid last-minute chaos as four senior election officials denounced the week-long count and disowned the result.
Official results showed that Ruto, the current deputy president, won 50.5% of the vote, beating the longtime opposition leader Raila Odinga and narrowly avoiding a run-off.
But chaos erupted minutes before the results were announced, with four out of seven electoral commissioners saying they disowned the outcome, which they termed “opaque”.

Rushdie told German magazine his life is now 'relatively normal' | Reuters

In an interview conducted just weeks before he was stabbed and seriously wounded by an attacker in New York state, author Salman Rushdie said his life was now "relatively normal", after having lived in hiding for years because of death threats.
Rushdie talked in the interview with Germany's Stern magazine about the threats he sees to U.S. democracy. He also called himself an optimist, and noted that the fatwa, a religious edict issued in Iran in 1989 that called on Muslims around the world to kill him for blasphemy, was pronounced long ago.
The interview is due to appear in the magazine on Aug. 18, but Stern released it on Saturday, a day after the attack on Rushdie. The interview was conducted about two weeks ago, the magazine's editorial office said.

French activists fill holes with cement in protest at watering exemptions | Reuters

Climate activists affiliated with Extinction Rebellion have targeted golf courses in southern France, filling holes with concrete in protest over exemptions from water restrictions during one of the worst droughts on record.
France has told residents to avoid non-essential water usage like car-washing and watering gardens. However, activists complain that golf courses are allowed to continue watering greens.

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News Headlines - 14 August 2022

Donor conference in Copenhagen raises 1.5 billion euros for Kiev - TASS

The countries participating in the donor conference #CopenhagenUkraine2022 will provide 1.5 billion euros for purchasing weapons for Kiev, Danish Defense Minister Morten Bodskov told a news conference on Thursday... Bodskov said the money would be used for the production and purchase of weapons, for training Ukrainian military and for demining. In September, another meeting will be held, where the participating countries will look into how the raised funds were used and discuss further assistance.
The conference also agreed on the creation of a fund to increase funding for the production of weapons for Ukraine. It will be established by Britain.

Germany reaches 75% gas stocks target ahead of schedule | Reuters

German gas storage facilities were slightly more than 75% full last Friday, a couple of weeks ahead of target, data from European operators group GIE showed on Sunday.
Germany has 23.3 billion cubic metres (bcm) of underground gas storage, a little more than a fifth of the 100 bcm of gas used in 2021.
The Rehden storage unit, which holds 4 bcm, was 54% full, the GIE data showed.

At least 41 people killed in Egypt church fire, say officials | The Guardian

A fire sparked by an electrical fault at a packed church in a working-class district of Greater Cairo has killed at least 41 people and injured another 45, Egyptian officials have said.
About 5,000 people had gathered at the Coptic Abu Sifin church in Imbaba, Giza, for Sunday morning services, when a fire broke out just before 9am local time (7am BST).

Police investigate threat to JK Rowling over Salman Rushdie tweet | The Guardian

Police are investigating a threat against JK Rowling that was made after she posted her reaction on social media to the attack on Salman Rushdie.
Rowling tweeted on Friday: “Horrifying news. Feeling very sick right now. Let him be OK.”
A Twitter user under the name Meer Asif Asiz replied: “Don’t worry you are next.”

Norway Authorities Kill Freya The Walrus - Life in Norway

The Oslofjord walrus known as “Freya” has been put down by authorities because of the ongoing risk to human and animal welfare.
Early on Sunday morning, the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries carried out a controlled operation to euthanise the Oslofjord walrus that had unintentionally become a global celebrity.

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News Headlines - 13 August 2022

Kenya Presidential Election Result: Winner Remains Unclear Three Days After Vote - Bloomberg

Three days after Kenya’s presidential Aug. 9 elections, it still remains unclear who won or whether any candidate secured the outright majority needed to claim the top post.
Rolling provisional results collated by local media houses the Nation Media Group, Citizen Television and Standard Media Group indicate that either Deputy President William Ruto or former Prime Minister Raila Odinga could reach the 50%-plus-one-vote threshold by a razor-thin margin -- or fall just short of the mark, with the lead changing hands several times between them.

Japan new cabinet has at least 20 deputies linked to Unification Church - Nikkei Asia

At least 20 Japanese lawmakers appointed as deputies for cabinet members confirmed Friday that they had links to a controversial religious group, after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called for a self-check and review to appease a wary public.

Betelgeuse star had an unprecedented massive eruption - CNN

The red supergiant Betelgeuse, a colossal star in the Orion constellation, experienced a massive stellar eruption – the likes of which have never been seen before, according to astronomers.
Betelgeuse first drew attention in late 2019 when the star, which glitters like a red gem in the upper-right shoulder of Orion, experienced an unexpected darkening. The supergiant continued to grow dim in 2020.
Some scientists speculated that the star would explode as a supernova, and they’ve been trying to determine what happened to it ever since.

Rochdale car thief found hiding inside 5ft teddy bear | ManchesterWorld

A wanted car thief who tried hiding in a giant fluffy teddy bear to evade cops has been “stuffed” behind bars.
Joshua Dobson, 18, was being hunted by police last month when he decided to climb into the back of the roughly 5ft bear – after making a hole in its bottom.
But officers from Greater Manchester Police rumbled the fugitive’s disguise after noticing that a teddy in the corner of a room they were searching was “breathing”.

Domino’s Pizza Stores in Italy Close Down as Traditional Margherita More Favored - Bloomberg

The last of Domino’s 29 branches have closed after the company started operations in the country seven years ago. It borrowed heavily for plans to open 880 stores, but faced tough competition from local restaurants expanding delivery services during the pandemic and sought protection from creditors after running out of cash and falling behind on its debt obligations.

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News Headlines - 12 August 2022

Author Salman Rushdie attacked on lecture stage in New York - The Washington Post

Salman Rushdie, the author whose novel “The Satanic Verses” drew death threats from Iran’s leader in the 1980s, was attacked and apparently stabbed in the neck Friday by a man who rushed the stage as he was about to give a lecture in western New York.
A bloodied Rushdie, 75, was flown to a hospital. His condition was not immediately known. His agent, Andrew Wylie, said the writer was undergoing surgery, but he had no other details.
An Associated Press reporter witnessed a man confront Rushdie on stage at the Chautauqua Institution and punch or stab him 10 to 15 times as he was being introduced. The author was pushed or fell to the floor, and the man was arrested.

Japan's consumer affairs agency to probe 'spiritual marketing' | NHK WORLD

Japan's new minister in charge of consumer affairs, Kono Taro, has instructed his agency to set up a panel to investigate the marketing practices of groups involved in so-called spiritual sales.
Kono said on Friday he wants the panel to launch as early as next week.
The move comes after the fatal shooting of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo drew attention to the religious group formerly known as the Unification Church.

Shake-up fails to lift support for Japan's cabinet amid questions over church -surveys | Reuters

With approval ratings already at their lowest since he took office in October, Kishida on Wednesday removed some members of his cabinet with ties to the group.
But more than half of respondents to a poll by the conservative Yomiuri daily paper, or 55%, said Kishida’s response was insufficient. Overall support for his cabinet slipped to 51%, down 6 points from a poll on Aug. 5-7.
Some 86% of those who responded to a poll by the Nikkei daily said Kishida’s action had not “erased their concerns” about the links of the ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to the organisation, but support for the cabinet held steady at 57%.

Eneos books strong Q1 results, CEO abruptly resigns - CNA

Japanese oil and metals giant Eneos Holdings Inc announced on Friday that CEO Osamu Sugimori had resigned, as the company reported strong quarterly earnings on higher oil and natural gas prices.
A company spokesperson said Sugimori had resigned for personal reasons but declined to give further details. She said Sugimori was also stepping down as the president of the Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ).

‘Bank robber’ rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

An Italian man had to be rescued after becoming trapped in a collapsed tunnel near the Vatican, suspected of being part of a gang burrowing its way to a nearby bank.
Firefighters spent eight hours digging him out from under a road in the west of Rome, before he was finally freed on Thursday evening and taken to hospital... For Italian newspapers, however, the motive was clear, with reports noting the tunnel was found near a bank ahead of the August 15th long weekend, when residents traditionally head out of town and much of Rome is left empty.

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News Headlines - 11 August 2022

FBI search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago related to nuclear documents, sources say - The Washington Post

Classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought in a search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence on Monday, according to people familiar with the investigation.
Experts in classified information said the unusual search underscores deep concern among government officials about the types of information they thought could be located at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and potentially in danger of falling into the wrong hands.

Satellite images show destroyed jets at Russian base in Crimea | Al Jazeera

New satellite images show at least seven destroyed fighter jets at an airbase in the Russian-controlled peninsula of Crimea, shortly after Ukraine said nine planes were destroyed in a string of deadly explosions at the site.
The images, provided by Planet Labs PBC and taken mid-afternoon on Wednesday, undermine Russia’s claim that the explosions on Tuesday, which killed one and wounded 14, did not cause serious damage.

Russia says Swiss 'no longer neutral', can't act as go-between with Ukraine | Reuters

Russia said on Thursday it had turned down a Swiss offer to represent Ukrainian interests in Russia and Moscow's interests in Ukraine because it no longer considers Switzerland a neutral country.
Switzerland has a long diplomatic tradition of acting as an intermediary between countries whose relations have broken down, but Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ivan Nechayev said this was not possible in the current situation.

Police question man with homemade gunpowder in front of U.S. Embassy - The Japan News

A man in front of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo on Monday was found carrying what appeared to be a homemade incendiary substance. The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the man on suspicion of violating the Explosives Control Law.
Police officers questioned the man in a voluntary interview and quoted him as saying, “I learned how to make gunpowder online and came to throw it at the embassy.”

New Langya virus infects dozens in eastern China: Study | Al Jazeera

Scientists in Asia have identified a new virus that can cause severe fever and was likely transmitted to humans from animals in eastern China.
The Langya henipavirus (LayV) was found in 35 people in the Shandong and Henan provinces of China, who were tested between 2018 and 2021, according to a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this month.

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News Headlines - 10 August 2022

Japan's daily COVID-19 tally hits record 250,000 cases

Japan's daily coronavirus tally soared to a record 250,403 cases on Wednesday, as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's new Cabinet faces the challenge of tackling the seventh wave of the COVID-19 pandemic amid renewed concerns over a strain on the medical system... Fueled by the highly transmissible Omicron BA.5 subvariant, Japan's new COVID-19 cases topped 250,000 for the first time, exceeding the previous record of around 249,800 on Aug. 3.

Monkeys under attack in Brazil amid rising monkeypox fears | AP News

The World Health Organization expressed sorrow on Tuesday for the killing of monkeys in Brazil amid fears of monkeypox contagion.
Brazilian news website G1 reported on Sunday that 10 monkeys had been poisoned in less than a week in the city of Sao Jose do Rio Preto, in Sao Paulo state. Similar incidents were reported in other cities.
“People have to know that the transmission we see now is among humans,” said Margaret Harris, a WHO spokeswoman, during a press conference in Geneva.

Ailing Beluga whale dies in French rescue bid - Expat Guide to France | Expatica

An ailing Beluga whale that strayed into France’s River Seine has died during a last-ditch rescue attempt, experts having decided to put the animal down to prevent further suffering, local officials said Wednesday.
The fate of the animal has captured the hearts of people across the world since it was first spotted in the highly unusual habitat of the river that flows through Paris, far from its usual Arctic waters.
Rescuers had overnight winched the male out of the River Seine for transfer to a saltwater pen, in a delicate final effort to save the life of the ailing mammal, which was no longer eating.

Dozens feared dead as migrant boat sinks off the coast of Greece | The Guardian

Dozens of people are feared to have died off the coast of Greece after their boat sank while attempting to make the perilous crossing from Turkey.
Efforts by Greece’s navy and air force to rescue up to 50 people who went down with the vessel in stormy waters off Rhodes had shown no signs of progress by late Wednesday, coast guard officials said... The boat, which was en route to Italy from Antalya in southern Turkey - an increasingly popular passage for those attempting to get to Europe - sank 38 nautical miles south of Rhodes in seas whipped by gale-force winds. Coast guard officials described the shipwreck as being in international waters.

John Bolton: US Justice Department charges Iranian with trying to orchestrate assassination - CNNPolitics

The US Justice Department announced criminal charges Wednesday against a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for allegedly trying to orchestrate the assassination of John Bolton, who served in senior national security positions during the Trump and Bush administrations.
The alleged plot was “likely in retaliation” for the January 2020 US air strike that killed Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Justice Department said... Prosecutors said Shahram Poursafi, a 45-year-old Iranian national and IRGC member, attempted to pay $300,000 to an individual in the United States to kill Bolton and said he had a “second job” for $1 million.

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News Headlines - 09 August 2022

UK postal workers to strike for four days in pay dispute | The Guardian

More than 115,000 UK postal workers are to stage a series of strikes in the coming weeks in a dispute over pay.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said it would be the biggest strike of the summer so far to demand a “dignified, proper pay rise”.
Strikes will be held on Friday 26 and Wednesday 31 August, and 8 and 9 September.

Iran makes first import order using cryptocurrency - report | Reuters

Iran made its first official import order using cryptocurrency this week, the semi-official Tasnim agency reported on Tuesday, a move that could enable the Islamic Republic to circumvent U.S. sanctions that have crippled the economy.
The order, worth $10 million, was a first step towards allowing the country to trade through digital assets that bypass the dollar-dominated global financial system and to trade with other countries similarly limited by U.S. sanctions, such as Russia. The agency didn't specify which cryptocurrency was used in the transaction.

Seoul flooding: Water lifts manhole cover and sweeps 2 people inside | Metro News

Torrential rainfall has been wreaking havoc in South Korea’s capital and is turning the streets into rivers.
Gushing floodwater is thought to have forced open the cover of a manhole in Seoul’s Seocho-gu district last night.
Two people were then swept inside, and despite rescuers deploying an underwater robot, they are still yet to be found, MBC TV reports... At least 10 people have been killed and seven others are missing as heavy rain, accompanied by thunderstorms, has pounded Seoul.

Eruption of magma off Iwoto island seen as 1st in 1,000 years | The Asahi Shimbun

For possibly the first time in 1,000 years, volcanic eruptions spewing magma are thought to have occurred off the coast of Iwoto island, the Japan Meteorological Agency announced on Aug. 8.

2 Tokyo universities in merger talks amid rising global competition - The Mainichi

The Tokyo Institute of Technology and the Tokyo Medical and Dental University said Tuesday the two schools will begin discussing a merger amid intensifying competition among universities across the globe.
The institutions are expected to apply for a 10 trillion yen ($74 billion) government fund -- intended to bolster efforts to promote science and technology in Japan -- through the tie-up.

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News Headlines - 08 August 2022

Japanese sailor stabbed during remembrance ceremony in Honiara | RNZ News

A Japanese sailor has been stabbed at Bloody Ridge in Solomon Islands during a World War II remembrance ceremony in Honiara.
Witnesses say the man, who was part of the Japanese Navy media team, was stabbed in the neck with a pair of scissors.
Bloody Ridge community chief Wesley Ramo said the culprit was from a neighbouring community and was mentally unstable and under the influence... RNZ Pacific spoke with medical personnel who said the Japanese sailor would require minor stitches but was okay.

Princess Kako joins Girl Scouts of Japan’s centenary camp - The Japan News

Princess Kako, the younger daughter of Crown Prince Akishino, took part in the Girl Scouts of Japan 100th Anniversary International Camp at Togakushi Girl Scout Center in Nagano on Sunday.

Tokyo university student claims instructor failed him for missing classes due to COVID - The Mainichi

A University of Tokyo student has requested that the institution retract his failing grade in a compulsory course, claiming he was failed after he missed classes due to COVID-19... He says he wishes to study at the university's Faculty of Medicine and claims that without a passing grade, he would have to repeat a year.

SoftBank posts record $23 billion loss on Vision Fund pain | CNN Business

SoftBank unveiled a $23 billion quarterly net loss on Monday, its biggest ever, as a market sell-off upended tech stocks and shredded valuations at its sprawling Vision Fund unit.
The pain in the April-June quarter comes fresh after the closely watched Vision Fund posted a record $26 billion loss in May, when rising interest rates and political instability disrupted global markets, and could test investor willingness to stomach further big losses.

Boeing Dreamliner deliveries to resume in the ‘coming days,’ FAA says

Boeing will resume deliveries of its 787 Dreamliners in the coming days, the Federal Aviation Administration said Monday.
Deliveries of the wide-body jetliners have been suspended for much of the past two years as regulators and Boeing reviewed a series of manufacturing flaws.
American Airlines, which has more than 40 of the planes on order, said it expects to receive its delivery as early as Wednesday.

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News Headlines - 07 August 2022

Chinese military ships and aircraft ‘deliberately’ crossed median line | Al Arabiya English

Taiwan’s defense ministry said on Friday a total of 68 Chinese military aircraft and 13 navy ships were conducting missions in the sensitive Taiwan Strait and some of them have “deliberately” crossed an unofficial buffer separating the two sides... The median line is an unofficial but once largely adhered-to border that runs down the middle of the Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan and China.
China has been holding huge drills encircling Taiwan since Thursday to protest this week's visit to the island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
It was previously rare for military jets and ships to cross the median line, although Chinese incursions have become more common after Beijing declared in 2020 that the unofficial border no longer existed.

Chinese FM reiterates strong opposition against Japan's dumping of nuclear-contaminated water ahead of facility construction - Global Times

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday reiterated its strong concern and opposition on the one-sided decision made by the Japanese government on releasing nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea as the construction of dumping facilities are reported to begin on Thursday... Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying restated China's criticism of Japan's extremely irresponsible act of arbitrarily dumping nuclear-contaminated water when asked to comment on Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's remarks at the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

Sources: Police raised concerns about Abe’s security detail | The Asahi Shimbun

Some Nara prefectural police officers raised concerns about the security detail planned for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the event where he was fatally shot, sources said.
But the last-minute notification of his visit had apparently prevented those concerns from being more seriously evaluated.
That is according to investigative sources who are examining the failure by police to stop a lone gunman from killing Abe on July 8.

U.K. motorcyclist crashes at Japan circuit, falls into coma: police

British motorcycle racer Gino Rea crashed during practice for a race at Japan's Suzuka Circuit on Saturday, got seriously injured and fell into a coma, local police said.
Rea's motorbike slammed into the wall of a course at the circuit in Suzuka, Mie Prefecture, and he was transferred to a hospital by an ambulance helicopter, the police said... The 32-year-old motorcyclist of F.C.C. TSR Honda France was to compete in an eight-hour endurance race being held at the circuit from Thursday to Sunday.

Monkeypox: Biden administration will declare monkeypox a public health emergency

The Biden administration is declaring monkeypox a public health emergency as the U.S. outbreak has grown into the largest in the world, the nation’s top health official said Thursday.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra’s emergency declaration will help mobilize more resources to fight the outbreak, which has spread swiftly since health authorities in Boston confirmed the first U.S. case in May. The last time the U.S. declared a public health emergency was in response to Covid-19 in January 2020.

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News Headlines - 06 August 2022

Hiroshima marks 77th anniversary of atomic bombing | NHK WORLD

People in Hiroshima are marking the 77th anniversary of the atomic bombing that devastated the city in the final days of World War Two. Thousands of people gathered on Saturday morning for an annual ceremony at the city's Peace Memorial Park.
Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio was joined by representatives from 99 countries, as well as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the first UN chief to attend the event in 12 years.
More than 3,000 members of the public also turned out for the ceremony, a substantial increase on the crowds in 2020 and 2021, the first two years of the coronavirus pandemic.

Five more prefectures issue declarations in BA.5 variant fight | The Japan Times

Five more prefectures in Japan have issued declarations for strengthening measures against the rapidly spreading BA.5 omicron subvariant of COVID-19.
The five, which made the moves Friday, are Miyagi, Niigata, Gifu, Mie and Okayama. Tochigi, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Aichi, Kyoto, Kumamoto and Kagoshima have already issued such a declaration.

Young head of South Korea's ruling party ousted by old-timers - Nikkei Asia

South Korea's ruling party has suspended its young leader, Lee Jun-seok, over accusations of sexual misconduct, delivering a serious blow to President Yoon Suk-yeol's already shaky standing with the voting public.
The 37-year-old Lee helped the conservative People Power Party win the presidential election in March and the unified local elections in June by attracting young voters. The disciplinary action by the party's ethics panel was ostensibly for his alleged receipt of sexual bribery in 2013, but the truth is that Lee fell victim to political infighting with older party members who were worried about the growing power of young leaders in the party.

Volodymyr Zelensky seeking ‘direct talks’ with China’s Xi Jinping to help end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine | South China Morning Post

Ukraine is seeking an opportunity to speak “directly” with China about its ongoing war with Russia, President Volodymyr Zelensky has said, noting that his country had consistently sought close ties with Beijing in the years preceding the conflict.
In an exclusive interview with the Post, the Ukrainian leader urged the Asian superpower to use its outsize political and economic influence over Russia to bring the fighting to a stop.

Myanmar generals banned from ASEAN until peace plan progress | Al Jazeera

Foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to bar Myanmar’s ruling generals from the group’s meetings until they make progress on a 15-month-old plan to address the crisis triggered by the military coup.
Speaking at a press conference at the end of a series of ASEAN regional meetings in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s foreign minister Prak Sokhonn, who is also a special envoy on Myanmar, said the generals “must act in a way that shows progress is made, then we will be able to act on a decision to show progress”.

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News Headlines - 05 August 2022

Japan ex-minister feels 'responsible' for OK of Unification Church name change - The Mainichi

The former policy chief of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Hakubun Shimomura said on Aug. 4 that he feels "responsible" for the decision to allow the Unification Church to change its name in Japan in 2015, when he was culture minister.
The Agency for Cultural Affairs, which is under the jurisdiction of the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, allowed the Unification Church to change its name to the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification in 2015.

Toyota unit Hino has falsified engine data for nearly 20 years - Nikkei Asia

Japanese truck maker Hino Motors, a unit of Toyota Motor, said on Tuesday that it has been falsifying data related to engine emissions and fuel performance for a longer period of time and on more models than previously admitted, making it more difficult for the company to rebuild its management and restore credibility.

Heavy Rain Causes Floods, Overflows Rivers across Japan | JIJI PRESS

Days of heavy rain have caused floods and overflowed many rivers in northeastern, central and western Japan, according to the land ministry and other entities... Between Wednesday and 11 a.m. Friday, 45 rivers overflowed across Japan, from Aomori Prefecture in the country's northeast to Shiga in the west, according to the land ministry.

Myanmar charges Japanese journalist with spreading fake news | The Asahi Shimbun

A Japanese video journalist detained in Myanmar while covering a brief pro-democracy march has been charged with violating a law against spreading false or alarming news, the Southeast Asian country’s military government announced Thursday.
Toru Kubota, a Tokyo-based documentary filmmaker, was arrested Saturday by plainclothes police after taking images of the protest.
He is the latest of about 140 journalists arrested since the military seized power last year from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. More than half have been released, but the media remains under tight restrictions.

Ayman al-Zawahiri: How US strike could kill al-Qaeda leader - but not his family - BBC News

Just over an hour after sunrise on 31 July, long-time al-Qaeda boss Ayman al-Zawahiri walked out onto the balcony of a downtown Kabul compound - reportedly a favourite post-prayer activity of the veteran Egyptian jihadist.
It would be the last thing he would do.
At 06:18 local time (01:38 GMT), two missiles slammed into the balcony, killing the 71-year-old but leaving his wife and daughter unscathed inside. All the damage from the strike appears to be centred on the balcony.

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News Headlines - 04 August 2022

Kansas voters resoundingly protect their access to abortion | AP News

Kansas voters on Tuesday sent a resounding message about their desire to protect abortion rights, rejecting a ballot measure in a conservative state with deep ties to the anti-abortion movement that would have allowed the Republican-controlled Legislature to tighten restrictions or ban the procedure outright.
It was the first test of voter sentiment after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June that overturned the constitutional right to abortion, providing an unexpected result with potential implications for the coming midterm elections.

Sanrio : Announcement Regarding Receipt of Tax Reassessment Notice Under the Anti-Tax Haven Rules and Sanrio's Responses | MarketScreener

On July 29, 2022, Sanrio Company, Ltd. received a tax reassessment notice from the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau for the five fiscal years from the fiscal year ended March 2017 to March 2021. The reassessed additional income is approximately 4.2 billion yen, and additional tax due, including local taxes, is approximately 1.3 billion yen... While the lawsuit seeking rescission of the said tax reassessment is still pending, we intend to pay the tax due in respect of the recent tax reassessment as we did in the previous reassessment case, and follow appropriate procedures to assert the legitimacy of our claims.

India confirms Asia’s first monkeypox death | Al Jazeera

India has confirmed its first monkeypox death, a young man in the southern state of Kerala, in what is only the fourth known death from the disease in the current outbreak.
The death, reported on Monday, is the first in Asia. Last week, Spain reported two monkeypox-related deaths and Brazil its first. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global health emergency on July 23.

VR Technology Helps Doctors Successfully Separate Joined Twins

A team of doctors has used virtual reality technology to prepare for an operation that successfully separated twins joined at the head... VR technology was used by doctors in Brazil and Britain who were involved in the operation, or surgery, involving the joined twins.

Cristian Tirone: Argentine footballer arrested after punching female referee during match - CNN

An Argentine football player was arrested after punching a female referee in the back of the head during a match between Deportivo Garmense and Deportivo Independencia in a regional league in Buenos Aires.
In interviews with local media outlets, referee Dalma Magali Cortadi said she had awarded a foul against Garmense player Cristian Tirone – who a police source and a Garmense source told CNN was the aggressor – who then began to verbally abuse her.
As a result, Cortadi says she decided to show Tirone a red card, at which point he ran up behind Cortadi and struck her in the back of the head, causing her to fall to the ground.

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News Headlines - 03 August 2022

Japanese man on Interpol list for ¥390 mil. in ‘romance scams’ held in Ghana - The Japan News

A Japanese man on Interpol’s wanted list, suspected of having played a key role in scams swindling 65 people out of ¥390 million, has been apprehended in Ghana, according to investigative sources.
The so-called international romance scams that Hikaru Morikawa, 58, allegedly hatched involved the use of social media to pretend to be a woman working abroad, then luring people through romantic enticements to give money, the sources said.
The Osaka prefectural police, which had Morikawa placed on Interpol’s international wanted list in August 2021 and made his mug shot available this May, believe he is the ringleader of a Ghana-based international group of scammers.

Japan reports 249,830 coronavirus cases; 38,940 in Tokyo - Japan Today

Japan on Wednesday reported 249,830 new coronavirus cases.
The Tokyo metropolitan government reported 38,940 new coronavirus cases, up 8,098 from Tuesday.
The number of infected people hospitalized with severe symptoms in Tokyo is 35, up one from Tuesday, health officials said. The nationwide figure is 478, up 14 from Tuesday.

Major Japanese utilities post quarterly losses | NHK WORLD

A majority of Japan's major power companies have posted losses for the April-to-June period. The red ink was caused by continued high fuel costs on the back of the conflict in Ukraine.
Seven out of 10 power firms booked net losses for the last quarter. Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, reported a group net loss of 67 billion yen, or 500 million dollars.
Six other electric companies across the nation were also in the red. They are the utilities covering the Tohoku, Hokuriku, Kansai, Chugoku, Kyushu and Okinawa regions.

Japan ruling party postpones parliamentary speech for ex-PM Abe - Nikkei Asia

Japan's main ruling party informed the opposition Monday of its intention to postpone a parliamentary speech to mourn slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe until this fall, dropping its earlier plan for this week due to criticism... The LDP, to which Abe belonged, was forced to review its initial plan for Akira Amari, a close aide to the former prime minister, to deliver a speech in parliament on Friday.
But the choice of Amari, who served as an economy minister in the Abe administration, prompted criticism from opposition party lawmakers who said it would break with the custom of a leader from a different party giving such a speech to express condolences regardless of political views.
They also said Amari has not fully explained himself in parliament over graft allegations against him and his secretaries that led him to leave his Cabinet post of economic revitalization minister in 2016.

Liz Truss U-turns on public sector pay cut in just 12 hours | The Independent

Conservative leadership contender Liz Truss has dumped plans to cut the pay of public sector workers outside London and the south east after a massive backlash against the policy from Tory MPs.
Critics within her own party accused the foreign secretary of planning to make millions of nurses, police officers and teachers poorer.

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News Headlines - 02 August 2022

Japan Panel Agrees on 31-Yen Minimum Wage Increase - JIJI PRESS

A Japanese government panel agreed on Monday to call for a hike of 31 yen, or 3.3 pct, in the weighted average minimum hourly wage in the country for fiscal 2022, apparently considering rising prices... The 31-yen hike is higher than the previous year's target of 28 yen, which was the largest since fiscal 2002, when Japan started measuring minimum wages on an hourly basis.

Forbes Explores Sale After SPAC Deal Collapses - The New York Times

Forbes, the chronicler of the wealthy and powerful, announced on Tuesday that it was exploring a sale of its business after a previous deal to go public fell through.
In recent weeks, an offering document describing Forbes’s financials compiled by Citigroup has been circulated to media companies, including Yahoo, said three people with knowledge of the decision, who would speak only anonymously because the outreach was private. According to the document, Forbes generated more than $200 million in revenue and more than $40 million in profit in 2021, two of the people said.
The people said Forbes was exploring selling for at least $630 million. That is the valuation that the company declared when it moved to go public through a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Forbes scrapped that plan this year, and it is unclear whether it can get that price now. Integrated Whale Media Investments owns a majority of the company.

German auto parts maker ZF eyes commercial EV market in Japan - Nikkei Asia

German auto parts maker ZF is set to enter the Japanese commercial vehicle market as early as in 2026, supplying small electric trucks and vans for local delivery companies, Nikkei has learned.
ZF, the world's third-largest auto parts maker, aims to reach orders for 10,000 EVs a year by 2030. It intends to develop an entire supply chain within Japan, ranging from design to production... The project will be led by ZF's Japanese unit and begin with production of small trucks and vans with a load capacity of 1 to 2 tons. Such vehicles are often used as delivery trucks in Japan.

France lifts all Covid-related travel restrictions as State of Emergency ends

France declared a State of Emergency in March 2020 because of the Covid pandemic, and that state has been extended several times.
From August 1st, however, that is officially lifted, although the government does retain certain powers to impose Covid travel rules.
The key difference for those travelling, is that the end of the State of emergency means the end of all Covid-related restrictions at the border.

Tory leadership vote delayed after GCHQ hacking alert

Voting for the next prime minister has been delayed after GCHQ warned that cyber hackers could change people’s ballots, The Telegraph can reveal... The sudden alteration means postal ballots have still yet to be issued to the around 160,000 Tory members who will pick Boris Johnson’s successor. The ballots had been due to be sent out from Monday, but members have now been warned they could arrive as late as Aug 11.
The decision was taken on the advice of the National Cyber Security Centre, part of the UK’s GCHQ listening post. The Telegraph understands fears were raised that nefarious actors could change the votes of scores of party members, causing chaos to the democratic process.
It is understood there was no specific threat from a hostile state, with advice being more general and about the voting process and its vulnerabilities.

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News Headlines - 01 August 2022

Beirut silo collapses, reviving trauma ahead of blast anniversary | Reuters

Part of the grain silos at Beirut Port collapsed on Sunday just days before the second anniversary of the massive explosion that damaged them, sending a cloud of dust over the capital and reviving traumatic memories of the blast that killed more than 215 people.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Lebanese officials warned last week that part of the silos - a towering reminder of the catastrophic Aug. 4, 2020 explosion - could collapse after the northern portion began tilting at an accelerated rate.

Myanmar’s military leader extends state of emergency | Al Jazeera

Myanmar’s military leadership has announced it will extend the state of emergency in the country by six months.
The ruling State Administration Council (SAC) first declared a state of emergency after Senior General Min Aung Hlaing seized power in a coup in February 2021, deposing the democratically-elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Australia fines air traveler nearly $2,000 for carrying undeclared McMuffins | Fox Business

An air traveler was recently fined nearly $2,000 by the Australian government for failing to declare two egg and beef sausage McMuffins in their luggage.
The unidentified traveler had arrived at Darwin Airport from Bali, according to Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry... The passenger was slapped with a $2,664 "infringement notice" - or around $1,874 in American dollars - for "failing to declare potential high biosecurity risk items and providing a false and misleading document."

Chilean Authorities Investigate Mysterious Large Sinkhole Near Copper Mine

Chilean authorities started investigating on Monday a mysterious sinkhole about 25 meters (82 feet) in diameter that appeared over the weekend in a mining area in the north of the country.
Chilean media showed aerial images of the sinkhole on land operated by a Canadian Lundin Mining copper mine, about 665 kilometers (413 miles) north of capital Santiago.
The National Service of Geology and Mining (Sernageomin) became aware of the sinkhole on Saturday and has sent specialist personnel to the area, the agency's director David Montenegro said in a statement.

Vadim Bakatin, last head of Soviet KGB, dies at 84 | Reuters

Vadim Bakatin, a liberal politician who briefly headed the Soviet KGB in the months leading up to the collapse of the USSR, has died at the age of 84, Russian state media said on Monday.
Bakatin was appointed by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to head the security service after its previous boss, Vladimir Kryuchkov, played a leading role in a failed coup against Gorbachev in August 1991.

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News Headlines - 31 July 2022

Kishida Cabinet's approval rate falls to 51.0% from 63.2% in early July | The Japan Times

The approval rating for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet has dropped to its lowest level - 51.0% - from a record high of 63.2% just weeks ago, which comes amid controversy over the proposed state funeral for former leader Shinzo Abe and possible ties between lawmakers and the Unification Church, a Kyodo News survey showed Sunday.
The survey found 53.3% of respondents opposed the state funeral, while 61.9% said a parliamentary debate on holding the event is necessary.

Publishers sue ex-Mangamura operator for 1.9 billion yen | The Asahi Shimbun

Three major Japanese publishers sued the former operator of the now-closed manga piracy website Mangamura on July 28, claiming it infringed on their rights by publishing popular manga online without their permission.
Kadokawa Corp., Shueisha Inc. and Shogakukan Inc. filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court, seeking 1.9 billion yen ($14 million) in damages. The amount is the largest ever sought in a lawsuit against piracy sites, according to the plaintiffs.

Philippine ex-President Fidel Ramos dies at 94 - Nikkei Asia

Former Philippine President Fidel Ramos, who succeeded Corazon Aquino to lead the country from 1992 to 1998 and pushed forward economic reforms, died Sunday at 94... Ramos had led the national police force under the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and held key positions in the military. In the 1986 "People Power" revolution, he played a pivotal role in the dictatorship's downfall when he withdrew his support. Ramos later served as secretary of national defense under Aquino, who became president that year.

Nepal has nearly tripled its wild tiger population since 2009 - CNN

Wild tigers in Nepal have clawed their way back from the brink of extinction. There are now almost three times as many wild tigers in the country as there were in 2009, according to the Nepalese government... Nepal's National Tiger and Prey Survey 2022 found there are now 355 wild tigers in the country, a 190% increase since 2009.
The exhaustive survey covered 18,928 square kilometers -- more than 12% of the country -- and required 16,811 days of field staff time.

Austria mourns suicide of doctor targetted by anti-COVID vaccine campaigners | Reuters

Austrian leaders appealed for national unity after a doctor who faced death threats from anti-vaccination activists and coronavirus pandemic conspiracy theorists took her own life... The body of the doctor -- who had often given media interviews about fighting the coronavirus pandemic and promoting vaccinations -- was found in her office in Upper Austria on Friday.
Media cited prosecutors as saying they had found a suicide note and were not planning an autopsy.

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News Headlines - 30 July 2022

Prince Charles accepted £1m from family of Osama bin Laden | The Sunday Times

Prince Charles secured the money from Bakr bin Laden, the patriarch of the wealthy Saudi family, and his brother Shafiq. Both men are half-brothers of Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaeda who masterminded the September 11 attacks.
Charles, 73, had a meeting with Bakr, 76, at Clarence House in London on October 30, 2013, two years after Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces in Pakistan.
The future king agreed to the money despite the initial objections of advisers at Clarence House and the Prince of Wales Charitable Fund (PWCF), where the offering was donated.

Toyota warns Government it may stop manufacturing in UK if it bans hybrid cars

Toyota has warned the Government that it may end manufacturing in the UK if it brings in a ban on hybrid models from 2030 as part of net zero plans.
The car manufacturer, which is one of the world’s largest, told the Government that restrictions on the sale of its hybrid models would impact on the company’s “manufacturing, retail and other business activities” and its “future investment” in the UK, according to documents seen by The Telegraph.

UNESCO not reviewing Japan's Sado mine for 2023 World Heritage list

A gold and silver mine site recommended by the Japanese government for UNESCO World Heritage but opposed by South Korea will not be considered for inclusion in the 2023 list after the U.N. agency found the application was incomplete, officials said Thursday... Japan's recommendation for the mine in February for the 2023 UNESCO World Heritage list drew protest from South Korea, which claims the site is linked to the wartime forced labor of Koreans.
UNESCO has expressed concern to Japan about the conflict between the two countries over historical issues spilling over into the World Heritage Committee, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Iraqi protesters storm parliament for second time in a week | Al Jazeera

Protesters have once again breached Iraq’s parliament in a show of support for influential Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr, leaving at least 125 people injured and escalating a political standoff... Thousands of supporters rallied by al-Sadr and his Sadrist Movement tore down concrete barriers on Saturday and entered the Green Zone, which houses government departments and foreign missions, before breaking into parliament.
The scenes followed similar protests on Wednesday, although this time at least 125 people – 100 civilians and 25 members of the security forces – were wounded, according to the Ministry of Health.

NASA Will Inspire World When It Returns Mars Samples to Earth in 2033

NASA has finished the system requirements review for its Mars Sample Return Program, which is nearing completion of the conceptual design phase. During this phase, the program team evaluated and refined the architecture to return the scientifically selected samples, which are currently in the collection process by NASA's Perseverance rover in the Red Planet's Jezero Crater.
The architecture for the campaign, which includes contributions from the European Space Agency (ESA), is expected to reduce the complexity of future missions and increase probability of success.

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News Headlines - 29 July 2022

Germany rethinks nuclear power exit due to threat of winter energy crunch | Financial Times

Germany is rethinking its plan to exit nuclear power by the end of the year, as concern increases that Russia’s moves to cut gas supplies could trigger a winter electricity crunch in Europe’s largest economy.
A U-turn on nuclear power would mark a big departure in German energy policy. It would be a particularly bitter pill for the Greens, a pillar of chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition government with roots in the country’s anti-nuclear movement.
A person close to the Greens leadership said the party had come to the conclusion that “all options should be on the table” in the event of an energy crunch. One of those options might be to extend the life of the Isar 2 nuclear station in Bavaria beyond its shutdown date of December 31.

James Lovelock, co-founder of the Gaia theory, dies at 103 : NPR

James Lovelock, the British environmental scientist whose influential Gaia theory sees the Earth as a living organism gravely imperiled by human activity, has died on his 103rd birthday... The Gaia hypothesis, developed by Lovelock and American microbiologist Lynn Margulis and first proposed in the 1970s, saw the Earth itself as a complex, self-regulating system that created and maintained the conditions for life on the planet. The scientists said human activity had thrown the system dangerously off-kilter... Initially dismissed by many scientists, the Gaia theory became influential as concern about humanity's impact on the planet grew, not least because of its power as a metaphor. Gaia is the Greek goddess of the Earth.

Artifacts from destroyed Bamiyan Buddhas stolen amid Afghan turmoil

Artifacts from one of two Buddha statues destroyed by the Taliban in 2001 at the famous Bamiyan site in central Afghanistan were stolen from storage immediately after the Islamist group returned to power last August, according to people familiar with the case.
The stolen Buddhist sutra and jute bag that had been kept at a German archeological team's warehouse in Bamiyan are believed to be first-rate discoveries that could shed light on the creation of the sixth-century Great Buddhas carved info cliffs at the UNESCO World Heritage site.

Japan to conduct full-scale review into foreign trainee program

The Japanese government said Friday it will launch a full-scale review into the country's foreign technical intern program to address issues of human rights violations and inadequate support for trainees.
An increasing number of cases of harassment and abuse of foreign trainees has resulted in mounting criticism at home and abroad with claims that it is a cover for companies to import cheap labor rather than a program to transfer skills to developing countries.

KDDI to pay damages to 36 mil. people affected by network outage

KDDI Corp. said Friday it will pay damages to 35.89 million customers as a form of "apology" following a major service disruption that spanned several days earlier this month.
The provider of the "au" mobile service -- and Japan's second-largest mobile carrier by subscribers -- will reduce individual invoices by 200 yen ($1.50), with the total damages expected to reach approximately 7.3 billion yen, KDDI President Makoto Takahashi said during a press conference in Tokyo.

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News Headlines - 28 July 2022

Osaka Declares Medical State of Emergency over COVID-19 | JIJI

The prefectural government of Osaka, western Japan, on Wednesday declared a medical state of emergency amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the seventh wave of infections.
The prefecture will urge elderly people with high risks of developing severe symptoms to refrain from unnecessary travel, excluding shopping and exercise, between Thursday and Aug. 27.
But it will not urge restaurants and bars to shorten their operating hours. It is the fourth medical state of emergency in Osaka, and the first since Feb. 8.

Japan grants first payment for death related to COVID vaccination | The Japan Times

A health ministry panel has awarded a lump sum compensation payment for the first time to the family of a woman who died after suffering an allergic response and sudden heart attack linked to being vaccinated against COVID-19.
The woman, who was 91 when she received the vaccination, had pre-existing conditions including transient ischemic attacks, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. It has not released details on when she was inoculated nor how many shots she received.
The panel determined Monday that a causal relationship between subsequent health problems and the vaccine could not be denied in the case.

Shinzo Abe's assassination spotlights Unification Church links to Japan's politics : NPR

Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was an improbable target, and his assassination on July 8 was a bizarre and shocking twist of fate for the nation's longest-serving prime minister and a well known global diplomat.
The assassination has focused public attention on the religious movement that was apparently the target of the alleged assassin's hatred - and its decades-old ties to Japan's leaders and ruling party.

Iraqi protesters storm the parliament in Baghdad’s Green Zone | Al Jazeera

Hundreds of Iraqi demonstrators, most of them followers of the Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr, have stormed the parliament building in Baghdad to protest against the nomination for prime minister by Iran-backed parties... The protesters oppose the candidacy of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, a former minister and ex-provincial governor, who is the pro-Iran Coordination Framework’s pick for premier.

World Athletics to introduce repechage round at Paris 2024 Olympic Games | World Athletics

The World Athletics Council has approved an innovation to the regular competition format for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, introducing a repechage round to all individual track events from 200m to 1500m in distance, including the hurdles events.
In the new repechage format, athletes who do not qualify by place in round one heats, will have a second chance to qualify for the semi-finals by participating in repechage heats... The new format means that every athlete competing in the events with a repechage round will have at least two races at the Olympic Games.

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News Headlines - 27 July 2022

The U.S. is quietly sharing its estimate of Russian war casualties: more than 75,000 killed or injured. - The New York Times

The Biden administration is quietly circulating an estimate of Russian casualties in Ukraine that far exceeds earlier U.S. estimates, telling lawmakers that more than 75,000 members of Russia’s forces had been killed or injured.
A legislator who recently visited Ukraine confirmed on Wednesday that the estimate had emerged in a briefing from the State Department, Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Earlier in the day, a reporter for CNN tweeted the estimate and said it had been shared in a classified House briefing... If the Biden administration’s current estimate is accurate, it represents a staggering toll. Estimates of the number of Russian forces in Ukraine ranged as high as 150,000 in the spring, meaning that roughly half could be out of action.

British pro-Kremlin video blogger added to UK government Russia sanctions list | The Guardian

A British citizen who video blogs pro-Kremlin material from Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine has been added to a UK government sanctions list.
Graham Phillips, who has been accused of being a conduit for pro-Russian propaganda, is one of 42 new designations added to the UK’s Russia sanctions list... Phillips – the first UK citizen to be added to the growing sanctions list – has long been a controversial figure, receiving medals from the Russian state for his reporting. He has consistently toed the Russian line on the war, suggesting in recent weeks that Ukraine is run by Nazis and that the massacre of Ukrainians in Bucha was staged.

Anti-UN Protests In Congo; 3 Peacekeepers, 12 Civilians Dead: Report

Three United Nations peacekeepers and at least 12 civilians were killed during a second day of anti-UN protests in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday, authorities said.
The protests were spurred by complaints that the UN mission, known as MONUSCO, has failed to protect civilians against militia violence which has raged for years... Demonstrations began on Monday in the city of Goma and spread on Tuesday to Butembo, where a UN soldier and two UN police with the mission were shot dead, Haq told reporters in New York.

Tunisia Constitution Approved With 94.6% Of Vote: Initial Results | Barron's

A new Tunisian constitution was approved by 96.4 percent of participants in a referendum, the head of the ISIE electoral commission said Tuesday, citing preliminary results.
Just over 2.6 million out of the country's 9.3 million voters backed the new draft, ISIE chief Farouk Bouasker told journalists in Tunis.
The new charter will enshrine sweeping powers in the office of President Kais Saied.

Japan's daily COVID cases hit new record, above 209,000 - The Mainichi

Japan's daily coronavirus cases surpassed 209,000 for the first time on Wednesday as the country continues to struggle with a seventh wave of infections driven by the highly transmissible BA.5 Omicron subvariant.
The previous record was set last week at around 201,000, according to a tally based on local government reports. Despite the resurgence of the virus, the country has not imposed restrictions on people's movement.

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News Headlines - 26 July 2022

Japan executes Akihabara rampage killer | NHK WORLD

The Japanese government on Tuesday carried out the death sentence of a man convicted of going on a deadly stabbing rampage 14 years ago in Tokyo's busy Akihabara shopping district.
Kato Tomohiro was charged with ramming a truck into a crowd of shoppers in June 2008, and then indiscriminately stabbing passersby. Seven people were killed and 10 others were wounded... In 2015, the Supreme Court rejected Kato's appeal and finalized the death sentence handed down by lower courts. The judge said the seriousness of the crime left no room for leniency.

Tokyo Olympic exec's home searched on suspicion of bribery

Prosecutors searched the Tokyo home Tuesday of an executive of the now-defunct Tokyo Olympic organizing committee on the grounds he may have accepted bribes, investigative sources said.
Haruyuki Takahashi, 78, is believed to have received around 45 million yen ($330,000) from major business suit retailer Aoki Holdings Inc. after a company he headed reached a consulting deal with the firm. Aoki's Olympic sponsorship was announced about a year later.

Japan confirms first monkeypox infection - Nikkei Asia

Japan detected its first case of monkeypox on Monday in Tokyo.
The patient, a man in his 30s, lives in Tokyo, where is he now hospitalized, Tokyo's metropolitan government said Monday evening. The man traveled to Europe in late June and returned in mid-July. He had contact with a person during his travel who later was diagnosed with monkeypox.
Though the patient has symptoms such as fever, rash, headache and fatigue, Japan's health ministry said his condition is stable.

Car carrying Shinzo Abe’s wife rear-ended by police vehicle | The Asahi Shimbun

Akie Abe, the widow of slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was involved in a fender bender on July 25 caused by the police vehicle that was escorting her.
The car Abe was riding in was rear-ended by a Metropolitan Police Department vehicle at around 8:45 a.m. in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward.
The accident occurred at the Miyakezaka Junction on the Metropolitan Expressway’s Inner Circular Route in the capital’s Nagatacho district.

Chinese military drone flies near Taiwan | NHK WORLD

Japan's Defense Ministry says a Chinese military drone flew near Taiwan on Monday.
The ministry said the TB-001 reconnaissance and strike unmanned aerial vehicle travelled over the sea between Okinawa's main island and Miyakojima Island, southwestern Japan... They say it is the first time that a Chinese drone has made a solo flight over the area between the two Japanese islands. The Air Self-Defense Force scrambled fighter aircraft in response. The officials said the drone did not enter Japan's airspace.

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News Headlines - 25 July 2022

Myanmar junta executes 4 prisoners, including 2 pro-democracy rivals

Myanmar's junta has executed four prisoners including a former lawmaker from Aung San Suu Kyi's party and a prominent activist, state media said Monday, in the country's first use of capital punishment in decades... Phyo Zeya Thaw, a former lawmaker from Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) who was arrested in November, was sentenced to death in January for offences under anti-terrorism laws.
Democracy activist Kyaw Min Yu -- better known as "Jimmy" -- received the same sentence from the military tribunal.

Colombian illegal armed groups propose ceasefire with incoming government | Reuters

Colombia's top criminal gangs, who are linked to producing and trafficking cocaine, on Thursday proposed a ceasefire to the incoming government of leftist Gustavo Petro as a starting point to peace talks, six groups said in a statement... "We cannot be indifferent to the clamor of Colombian society and the thinking of its democratically elected president, in order to achieve the desired peace with social justice, among other things," six illegal armed groups, including the Clan del Golfo, the Caparros, and the Rastrojos, said in the statement.
Petro, a 62-year old economist who will become Colombia's first leftist president on Aug. 7, proposed talks with criminal groups linked to drug-trafficking during his campaign.

Indian chief minister hospitalized after drinking water from ‘holy river’

In a viral video, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann was seen scooping and drinking a glass of water from Kali Bein, a holy river in Sultanpur Lodhi, during the launch event of a campaign to clean rivers and drains across the state.
Two days later, he was airlifted from his official residence in Chandigarh to a hospital in neighboring state Delhi where he was admitted after complaining of a severe stomachache, reported The Indian Express, citing sources familiar with the matter.

China Evergrande CEO, CFO step down after probe into property services unit | Reuters

China Evergrande Group said on Friday that its chief executive officer and finance head have resigned after a preliminary probe found their involvement in diverting loans secured by its publicly listed unit to the group.

Specter of COVID-19 will hang over remainder of NPB season | The Japan Times

At the nominal halfway point of the Japanese baseball season, COVID-19 — not Munetaka Murakami or any other star who will be on display during this week’s All-Star Series — is taking center stage.
The seventh wave of infections in Japan is taking a toll on the NPB ranks, sidelining various players and staff members — not even Hokkaido Nippon Ham’s Big Boss, Tsuyoshi Shinjo, was immune — and decimating the Yomiuri Giants.

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News Headlines - 24 July 2022

JMA issues volcanic warning for Sakurajima, raising alert to highest level | NHK WORLD

The Japan Meteorological Agency has raised the volcanic alert to the highest level of five for Sakurajima in Kagoshima Prefecture following an explosive eruption on Sunday evening.
The agency says the eruption occurred at 8:05 p.m. and large volcanic rocks flew 2.5 kilometers from the crater.

Unification Church ties to lawmakers emerge as major political issue in Japan - The Mainichi

The Unification Church's links to Japanese lawmakers has emerged as a major political issue ahead of an extraordinary parliamentary session in the fall, following the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with opposition parties moving to probe such ties including within their own ranks.
Abe's assailant has said he held a grudge against the religious group because large donations his mother had made to it ruined his family, and he thought Abe was linked to the group, according to investigative sources.

Japan daily coronavirus cases top 200,000 for 1st time - The Japan News

The daily number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Japan surpassed 200,000 for the first time Saturday, at 200,975, eclipsing its previous record high of about 195,000 logged the previous day.
The daily tally hit a record high for the fourth straight day, with 17 of the country’s 47 prefectures logging the highest numbers amid the accelerating spread of the highly contagious BA.5 omicron variant of the novel coronavirus.

Haruka Kitaguchi wins historic javelin bronze for Japan at worlds | The Japan Times

Haruka Kitaguchi won bronze in the women's javelin at the World Athletics Championships on Friday, becoming the first Japanese woman to medal in a throwing event at either the worlds or the Olympics.
The 24-year-old threw 63.27 meters in the final for Japan's third medal at the ongoing championships in Oregon.

Chess robot grabs and breaks finger of seven-year-old opponent | The Guardian

Last week, according to Russian media outlets, a chess-playing robot, apparently unsettled by the quick responses of a seven-year-old boy, unceremoniously grabbed and broke his finger during a match at the Moscow Open... Video of the 19 July incident published by the Baza Telegram channel shows the boy’s finger being pinched by the robotic arm for several seconds before a woman followed by three men rush in, free him and usher him away.

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News Headlines - 23 July 2022

Japan goes ahead with state funeral plan for slain ex-leader Abe

The Japanese government officially decided Friday to hold a state funeral for slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a Tokyo arena in the fall, despite concerns among some opposition parties and members of the public that it may lead to forced condolences for the figure, much more highly praised abroad... It will be only the second state funeral held for a former prime minister in postwar Japan... The government does not plan to make Sept. 27 a public holiday.

Abe faction settles on temporary leadership lineup - The Japan News

The Liberal Democratic Party’s largest faction, which had been led by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, decided on an interim leadership structure at its general meeting on Thursday. It was the first meeting since Abe was fatally shot on July 8.
The lineup will revolve around acting chairmen Hakubun Shimomura and Ryu Shionoya until Sept. 27, the date set for Abe’s state funeral.

Suspect in Abe slaying ordered to undergo psychiatric tests | The Asahi Shimbun

The suspect in the slaying of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination expected to take several months to determine whether he is mentally fit to stand trial.
According to investigative sources, the Nara District Court on July 22 approved a request from the Nara District Public Prosecutors Office to conduct a psychiatric evaluation of Tetsuya Yamagami, 41. The evaluation is expected to take until late November.

Japan's core CPI jumps 2.2% in June, sharpest rise in 7 yrs

Core consumer prices in Japan surged 2.2 percent in June, the fastest pace in over seven years, topping the Bank of Japan's long-elusive 2 percent target for the third straight month, government data showed Friday, adding to the pain for price-sensitive households... The last time the headline inflation figure reached 2.2 percent was in March 2015, partly due to a consumption tax hike. Without the tax hike effect, June's core CPI was the highest since September 2008, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

An An, the world’s oldest male panda, beloved in Hong Kong, dies at 35 - The Washington Post

An An, the oldest known male giant panda, who brought “fond memories and heartwarming moments” to the people of Hong Kong, passed away Thursday following health complications. He was 35 — or 105 in panda years.

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News Headlines - 22 July 2022

Tokyo declares ‘red alert’ as it tallies 31,878 patients in a day | The Asahi Shimbun

Facing a staggering record-high of 31,878 fresh infections, the Tokyo metropolitan government on July 21 decided to declare a “red alert” to fight the latest COVID-19 explosion.
It marks the first time the capital has logged more than 30,000 new patients in a day.
The figure was a big jump from the previous record of 21,562, set on Feb. 2.

Abe's Widow, Akie, Not to Run in Lower House By-Election | JIJI PRESS

Akie Abe, the widow of slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, told a senior member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Thursday that she will not run in a House of Representatives by-election to fill the vacancy left by the death of her husband.

Japan regulators approve release of Fukushima water into sea | Reuters

Japan's nuclear regulators have approved a plan to release into the ocean water from the wrecked Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, the government said on Friday.
The water, used to cool reactors in the aftermath of the 2011 nuclear disaster, is being stored in huge tanks in the plant, and amounted to more than 1.3 million tonnes by July.
The regulators deemed it safe to release the water, which will still contain traces of tritium after treatment, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Japan logs biggest half-year trade deficit on energy price hikes - Nikkei Asia

Japan posted its biggest half-year trade deficit of 7.9 trillion yen ($57 billion) in the first half of 2022, inflated by a surge in import costs amid soaring energy prices and the yen's depreciation, government data showed Thursday.
Imports jumped 37.9% from a year earlier to 53.9 trillion yen on the back of rising crude oil and coal prices propelled by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, according to the Finance Ministry's preliminary report.
Exports rose 15.2% to 45.9 trillion yen, also registering a record high for a half-year period since comparable data became available in 1979, on the back of rising material prices and the weakening yen, the ministry said.

Mercosur trade bloc denies Zelensky request to address summit

South America's Mercosur trade bloc has declined a request by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to address its upcoming summit, host Paraguay said on Wednesday.
Bloc members Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay failed to reach an agreement on Zelensky's request, made to the host country last week, according to deputy foreign minister Raul Cano, who declined to say which states were against it.

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News Headlines - 21 July 2022

PMQs: 'Hasta la vista baby' - Johnson bids farewell - BBC News

In his final Prime Minister's Questions, Boris Johnson said goodbye by quoting Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Sri Lanka's Wickremesinghe elected president after Rajapaksa exit - Nikkei Asia

Sri Lanka's parliament on Wednesday chose six-time Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the troubled country's new president, risking further unrest as he remains deeply unpopular with the masses.
Lawmakers elected Wickremesinghe, who was already acting president and is perceived as close to the long-dominant Rajapaksa family, over Dullas Alahapperuma, a journalist-turned-politician who became a dissident within the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP).

Syria, a close Russia ally, breaks diplomatic ties with Ukraine | Al Jazeera

Syria, a close ally of Russia, has announced it is formally breaking diplomatic ties with Ukraine in response to a similar move by Kyiv... Late last month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Kyiv would cut ties after Syria recognised the Russian-backed breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.

Travel agency H.I.S. to sell shares in 'Huis Ten Bosch' resort - The Mainichi

Major Japanese travel agency H.I.S. Co. aims to sell its shares in the Dutch-themed "Huis Ten Bosch" seaside resort in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, in southwestern Japan, sources close to the matter said Thursday... Other Huis Ten Bosch shareholders, including regional companies Kyushu Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Railway Co., also plan to sell their shares at the same time, the sources said.
Meanwhile, the Nagasaki prefectural government has plans to turn the area into a so-called integrated resort, which would include a casino.

Citizens Seek Injunction to Block Abe State Funeral | JIJI PRESS

A group of 50 citizens sought a court injunction Thursday to block a planned state funeral for late former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
With the injunction, sought from Tokyo District Court, the group aims to prevent the government from making a cabinet decision on the state funeral or spending budgeted funds on such an event.

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News Headlines - 20 July 2022

France to pay $10 billion to take full control of EDF | Reuters

France's government is offering to pay 9.7 billion euros ($9.85 billion) to take full control of EDF, in a buyout deal that gives it a free hand to run Europe's biggest nuclear power operator as it grapples with a continent-wide energy crisis.
The finance ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that the government would offer EDF's minority shareholders 12 euros per share, a 53% premium to the closing price on July 5, the day before the government announced its intention to fully nationalise the debt-laden group... The state already owns 84% of EDF, which has been dogged by unplanned outages at its nuclear fleet, delays and cost overruns in building new reactors, and power tariff caps imposed by the government to shield households from soaring electricity prices.

Tokyo Games official may have received ¥45 million from sponsor - The Japan News

Haruyuki Takahashi, an executive board member of the organizing committee of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, may have received a total of over ¥45 million from one of the Games sponsors, Aoki Holdings Inc., through a consultancy contract between it and his consultancy firm, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. Games executive board members are considered public servants and are prohibited from receiving funds or goods in connection to their duties... The special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office alleges that the consultation contract lacked substance and the fees may have been intended to go to Takahashi himself.

DNA from body found in Sakhalin matches passenger from sunken boat - The Japan News

Russian authorities notified Japan via diplomatic channels on Tuesday that DNA samples from a man’s body found in Sakhalin matched one of the passengers aboard the Kazu pleasure boat, which sunk with 26 people aboard off the Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido in April... The body was found wearing a red life jacket with the word “Kazu” written on it. A black cell phone, car key and wristwatch were also found on the body.

Daria Kasatkina: Top Russian tennis player comes out as gay - CNN

Daria Kasatkina, currently ranked No. 12 in the world, told a Russian blogger that she is in a relationship with a woman, figure skater Natalia Zabiiako. Kasatkina posted photos of the two together on social media following the interview.
Kasatkina spoke out against the situation in Russia, saying that she will never be able to hold hands with her girlfriend in her home country, where she is not currently based.

France forest fires: Man arrested for suspected arson

A man was taken into police custody on Monday following an investigation into the Landiras fire in Gironde near Bordeaux, Le Soir reported. The fire burned down nearly 13,000 hectares of forest.
A defendant is a 39-year-old man from Gironde, who lives near Landiras. He had been questioned by police in 2012 for similar reasons, according to the Bordeaux Prosecutor's Office. Back then, he was suspected of the "destruction of forest by using an incendiary substance", although the case was dismissed in 2014 due to an "absence of convincing evidence".

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News Headlines - 19 July 2022

Mexican president renewed asylum offer for Assange in letter to Biden | Reuters

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday he gave a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden where he defended Julian Assange's innocence and renewed a previous offer of asylum to the WikiLeaks founder.
The United Kingdom last month approved Assange's extradition to the United States to face criminal charges relating to WikiLeaks' release of confidential U.S. military records and diplomatic cables.

Thirteen killed in Ecuador prison riot, prisons agency | Reuters

Thirteen prisoners were killed at a prison in the Ecuadorean city of Santo Domingo on Monday, Ecuador's prison agency said, the latest incident of deadly jail violence in the Andean country.
The government of conservative President Guillermo Lasso attributes prison violence to fights between gangs over control of territory and drug trafficking routes.
Last year, 316 prisoners died during riots in various prisons across Ecuador.

Ghana confirms first cases of deadly Marburg virus - BBC News

Ghana has confirmed its first two cases of the deadly Marburg virus, a highly infectious disease in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola.
It says both patients died recently in hospital in the southern Ashanti region... Health officials in the West African nation say 98 people are now under quarantine as suspected contact cases.

Kishida meets South Korea’s foreign minister; sign of better ties | The Asahi Shimbun

South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin paid a courtesy call July 19 on Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the first such meeting in four years between a Japanese leader and a top diplomat of the neighboring country.
Park visited the prime minister’s office to pay respects to former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who was shot to death on July 8, according to government officials.
The last time a Japanese prime minister met with a South Korean foreign minister was in July 2018, when Abe met Kang Kyung-wha.

Figure skating: Japanese icon Yuzuru Hanyu retires from competition

Japanese figure skating icon Yuzuru Hanyu announced he is retiring from competition Tuesday but will continue his bid to land the elusive quadruple axel as a professional exhibition skater.
After missing out on his third straight Olympic gold at the Beijing Games in February, the 27-year-old world champion from 2014 and 2017 left it unclear whether he would ever again compete on the ice.

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News Headlines - 18 July 2022

Fauci says he plans to retire by end of Biden's current term - CNNPolitics

Dr. Anthony Fauci plans to retire by the end of President Joe Biden’s current term in office, the government’s top infectious disease expert told CNN on Monday.
Fauci, who serves as Biden’s chief medical adviser and has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for decades, said he does not currently have a specific retirement date in mind nor has he started the process of retiring.

Prince Harry Gives Keynote Address at Mandela Day UN Celebration - NBC New York

Britain’s Prince Harry challenged people everywhere Monday to adopt Nelson Mandela’s spirit of hope in today’s divided world to reclaim democracies and leave a better future for children, movingly citing the inspiration of the anti-apartheid leader on his own life and his memories of his late mother, Princess Diana.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin: Hoping Putin is unwell or may be assassinated is ‘wishful thinking’

Britain's armed forces chief has dismissed speculation that Russian President Vladimir Putin is "not well" or could be assassinated as "wishful thinking".
The UK Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin was asked if President Putin, who launched an invasion of Ukraine in February, could be "toppled" or face "regime change".
But he told Sophie Raworth on BBC One's Sunday Morning show: "I think some of the comments that he's not well or that actually surely somebody's going to assassinate him or take him out, I think they're wishful thinking.

US and Russia agree to fly each other’s astronauts to the ISS as tensions thaw | The Guardian

The US and Russia have struck a deal to fly each other’s astronauts to the International Space Station, an apparent break in tensions between the nations over the war in Ukraine that includes the removal of the Russian space program’s bellicose leader.
Nasa and Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos made the announcement of integrated flights Friday, shortly after Moscow said President Vladimir Putin had replaced Dmitry Rogozin with the less confrontational Yuri Borisov, the country’s deputy prime minister and a former minister of defense.

Malaysia seizes African tusks, pangolin scales worth $18M - The Mainichi

Malaysian authorities said Monday they seized a container of African elephant tusks, pangolin scales and other animal skulls and bones estimated to be worth 80 million ringgit ($18 million).
The Customs Department said in a statement it discovered the contraband hidden behind sawn timber following checks on July 10 on a ship coming from Africa. This included 6,000 kilograms (13,227 pounds) of elephant tusks, 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of pangolin scales, 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of rhino horns and 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of animal skulls, bones and horns, it said.

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News Headlines - 17 July 2022

Shooter signaled Abe killing in letter to Unification Church critic - The Mainichi

The man charged with murdering Shinzo Abe sent a letter to a critic of the Unification Church signaling his intention to kill the former prime minister prior to the shooting earlier this month, the recipient said Sunday.
The letter shows the strong resentment that the assailant, Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, felt toward the church, with which he believed Abe had ties. Police appear to be aware of the letter.

Russia sanctions 384 Japanese lawmakers over stance on Ukraine | Al Jazeera

Russia has banned 384 Japanese lawmakers from entering its territory in response to Tokyo aligning itself with international sanctions against Moscow over its war on Ukraine... In May, the Russian foreign ministry said it had banned entry to several dozen Japanese officials, including Prime Minister Kishida, over Tokyo’s joining international sanctions against Moscow.

Shohei Ohtani becomes 1st player to hit, pitch in MLB All-Star Game

Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani on Tuesday became the first player in the 88-year history of the All-Star Game to start as both a hitter and pitcher.
Ohtani, who was listed in the lineup as a designated hitter, batted leadoff for the American League and then took the mound as the starting pitcher in the game at Coors Field in Denver, adding yet another first in his four-year MLB career.

UK train drivers at 8 rail companies to strike on July 30, union says | Reuters

Train drivers at eight British rail companies will strike on July 30 over a pay dispute, the drivers’ union ASLEF said on Thursday in the latest industrial action sparked by demands for wages to keep pace with soaring inflation... ASLEF said its members at eight companies – Arriva Rail London, Chiltern Railways, Greater Anglia, Great Western, Hull Trains, LNER, Southeastern and West Midlands Trains – would strike... The latest strike action by ASLEF follows the announcement of a 24-hour walkout by some staff from two other rail unions - the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) - that will take place on July 27.

EU launches 5.4-billion-euro hydrogen project with Alstom, Daimler, others | Reuters

The European Commission on Friday approved a 5.4-billion-euro ($5.4 billion) hydrogen project jointly funded by 15 EU countries and 35 companies including Alstom and Daimler Truck, seeking to gain the edge in an innovative sector.
Other participating companies include Ansaldo, Bosch, Enel, Fincantieri, Orsted and Plastic Omnium. The group will take part in 41 projects in the hydrogen scheme focusing on generation of hydrogen, fuel cells, storage, transportation and distribution of hydrogen and end-users applications, in particular in the mobility sector.

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News Headlines - 16 July 2022

Japan reports record daily high 110,675 new coronavirus cases - Japan Today

Japan on Saturday reported 110,675 new coronavirus cases, the highest number since the pandemic began... The number of coronavirus-related deaths reported nationwide was 20.

Japan hopes to restart four more nuclear reactors by winter | Reuters

Japan hopes to restart four more nuclear reactors in time to avert any power crunch over the winter, industry minister Koichi Hagiuda said on Friday, a week after the pro-nuclear ruling party won a resounding victory in upper house elections.

U.S., Israel sign joint pledge to deny Iran nuclear weaponry | Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed a joint pledge on Thursday to deny Iran nuclear arms, a show of unity by allies long divided over diplomacy with Tehran.
The undertaking, part of a "Jerusalem Declaration" crowning Biden's first visit to Israel as president, came a day after he told a local TV station that he was open to "last resort" use of force against Iran - an apparent move toward accommodating Israel's calls for a "credible military threat" by world powers.

Myanmar and Russia ink pact on nuclear energy cooperation | Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd

Myanmar's military government and Rosatom State Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding on nuclear energy cooperation during Senior General Min Aung Hlaing's private visit to Russia.
The military chief met with Mr Alexey Likhachev, director-general of Rosatom, in Moscow on Monday (July 11) and discussed about cooperation in such areas as scientific research, pharmaceutical production, agriculture, livestock and industry as well as food sector, by making use of nuclear energy "peacefully", Myanmar's Ministry of Information said in a statement, without providing the details.

Russians have visited Iran at least twice in last month to examine weapons-capable drones - CNNPolitics

A Russian delegation has visited an airfield in central Iran at least twice in the last month to examine weapons-capable drones, according to national security adviser Jake Sullivan and satellite imagery obtained exclusively by CNN.
Iran began showcasing the Shahed-191 and Shahed-129 drones, also known as UAVs or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, to Russia at Kashan Airfield south of Tehran in June, US officials told CNN. Both types of drones are capable of carrying precision-guided missiles.

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News Headlines - 15 July 2022

Abe shooter's mother donated 100 mil. yen to Unification Church

The mother of the man who fatally shot former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe donated about 100 million yen ($720,000) to the Unification Church, the man's uncle said Friday.
The assailant, 41-year-old Tetsuya Yamagami, has told investigators he believes Abe was linked to the church and that he resents the organization because his mother's donations to it ruined his family's finances... Her contributions included about 60 million yen from a life insurance payment over the death of Yamagami's father, his uncle told reporters in Osaka Prefecture. He said the other 40 million yen to the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, widely known as the Unification Church, came from her selling family real estate.

Killing of Shinzo Abe shines spotlight on politicians’ links with Moonies | Financial Times

South Korea’s Unification Church said on Monday it was baffled by reports the man suspected of killing former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was motivated by anger against the group.
The head of the Japanese branch of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, often known as the Moonies, confirmed that the mother of suspect Tetsuya Yamagami was a member of the church.
But branch chair Tomihiro Tanaka declined to comment on suggestions large donations by Yamagami’s mother had put the family under severe financial stress, and said gifts to the church from members were voluntary.

North Korea recognises breakaway of Russia's proxies in east Ukraine | Reuters

North Korea on Wednesday recognised two Russian-backed breakaway "people's republics" in eastern Ukraine as independent states, a separatist leader and the North's official news agency said.
The move makes North Korea only the third country after Russia and Syria to recognise the two breakaway entities, the Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk People's Republics (LPR), in Ukraine's Donbas region.

Sri Lanka protests: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa lands in Singapore after fleeing uprising

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa landed in Singapore on Thursday after fleeing mass protests over his country’s economic meltdown.
A short time later, he emailed his resignation to the speaker of parliament.

Mexico agrees to provide $1.5 billion to help U.S. manage migrants on southern border

The Mexican government has agreed to provide roughly $1.5 billion toward a host of new construction projects along the U.S.-Mexico border to strengthen the U.S.’s ability to screen and process migrants, a White House official said Tuesday... Former President Donald Trump campaigned on the promise of building a new border wall that he would get Mexico to pay for. While the Trump administration did build hundreds of miles of new and renovated border wall, the Mexican government did not pay for it.
Now, Mexico has agreed to pay for a number of projects through a joint multiyear effort along the countries’ borders, including “modernizing” ports of entry and enhancing screening processes of immigrants trying to cross from Mexico to the U.S.

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News Headlines - 14 July 2022

Japan plans state funeral for ex-PM Abe Shinzo | NHK WORLD

Japan's Prime Minister Kishida Fumio says the government will hold a state funeral for former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo in the autumn.
Kishida announced the plan in a news conference on Thursday after expressing his condolences for Abe, who was fatally shot during a campaign speech on Friday.
Kishida cited Abe's achievements in domestic politics and diplomacy as reasons for holding a state-sponsored funeral.

Shinzo Abe killing: Hideo Kojima threatens to sue over false posts - BBC News

Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima was linked to the shooting of Japan's former prime minister in pictures on website 4chan.
The images were shared by a French politician and reportedly broadcast by Greek and Iranian news outlets... The 4chan post used a photo of Kojima and falsely labelled him as a "left-wing extremist" with a criminal record.

Evacuation order to be lifted for Futaba Town near Fukushima nuclear plant site | NHK WORLD

An evacuation order will be lifted next month for a part of a town hosting the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, more than 11 years after the March 2011 disaster.
All residents in Futaba Town have been evacuated following the nuclear accident at the plant. They are not allowed to return to their homes except for short stays.
The central, prefectural and municipal governments have agreed to lift the evacuation order at 00:00 AM on August 30 for 555 hectares around JR Futaba Station. The area was designated as a "difficult-to-return" zone.

Russia's Navalny launches international anti-corruption fund | Reuters

Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Monday launched an international anti-corruption organisation, a year after his Russian Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF) was outlawed as extremist.
Navalny's Telegram channel, which carries messages passed to his supporters via lawyers who are allowed contact with him, said the fund's advisory board would include former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt, political scientist Francis Fukuyama, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and historian Anne Applebaum, and Navalny's wife, Yulia Navalnaya.

Ivana Trump, an ex-wife of President Donald Trump, has died - CNNPolitics

Ivana Trump, a longtime businessperson and an ex-wife of Donald Trump, has died in her home in New York City, the former President posted Thursday on Truth Social. She was 73.
The New York Police Department said later Thursday there did not "appear to be any criminality" related to Ivana Trump's death... The Fire Department of New York said it responded to a report of an individual suffering cardiac arrest at the residence, with the time and place of that response matching the location the NYPD associated with Trump. The fire department said the victim was dead on arrival.

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News Headlines - 13 July 2022

Sri Lanka's president flees to Maldives onboard military plane after protesters storm his home | Sky News

The president of Sri Lanka has fled the country after protesters stormed his home and office amid a three-month economic crisis.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, his wife and two bodyguards left aboard a Sri Lankan Air Force plane bound for the city of Male - the capital of the Maldives.
It comes just days after activists took over his residence, as well as the official home of the country's prime minister, over their outrage at the current economic situation.

Former executives ordered to pay Tepco ¥13 trillion over Fukushima disaster | The Japan Times

In a historic first, the Tokyo District Court on Wednesday ordered four former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. to pay ¥13.32 trillion ($97 billion) to the company for damage caused by the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, which led to three reactor meltdowns.
The amount is believed to be the largest ever awarded by a court for a civil lawsuit.
Presiding Judge Yoshihide Asakura ruled the four failed in their duty as Tepco directors to promptly order minimum tsunami countermeasures at the Fukushima No.1 plant. He said the possibility of a major tsunami-related accident could have been avoided if measures to prevent flooding had been taken in the plant’s main buildings and critical equipment rooms.

Ex-Head of Kindergarten Association Arrested over Money Scandal - JIJI PRESS

Tokyo police arrested on Wednesday a former chairman and a former secretary-general of an association of private kindergartens in Japan for allegedly misappropriating money from the association.
The former chairman, Kei Kagawa, 71, and the secretary-general, Norio Katsukura, 49, are accused of misappropriation and document falsification.
A total of 650 million yen in unspecified expenditures had been found at the association and a related organization, as well as several forged passbooks.

Twitter sues Elon Musk to force him to complete acquisition - CNN

Twitter has sued billionaire Elon Musk in an effort to force him to follow through with his deal to buy the social media company.
The lawsuit, filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery on Tuesday, comes after Musk said in a letter to Twitter's top lawyer late Friday that he wants to terminate the blockbuster $44 billion acquisition agreement.
Musk's lawyer alleged in Friday's letter that Twitter (TWTR) is "in material breach of multiple provisions" of the deal, claiming the company has withheld data Musk requested in order to evaluate the number of bots and spam accounts on the platform. Twitter's legal team hit back in a letter on Monday, calling Musk's attempted termination "invalid and wrongful," claiming that Musk himself had violated the agreement and demanding that he follow through with the deal.

Tackling the grey squirrel invasion? How about using contraception

Gray squirrels, the common rodents native to North America, were introduced in the UK as curiosities in the 19th century by wealthy individuals. They spread prolifically over decades, eventually leading to a ban on their import. But it was too late. They had cemented themselves in the country, at the expense of the smaller and native red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris).
Now, the government wants to introduce contraceptives as a way to control grey squirrel numbers and help red ones recover. The scheme is being developed by a team from UK’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) as part of a five-year project. No medicine has been placed on the field yet, as the team works on the final steps.
To avoid other species from ingesting the medication, UK scientists have developed a special feeding hopper. It has a weighted door that allows over 70% of local grey squirrel populations to access and eat while excluding most other species. APHA is now testing the hopper to ensure it prevents red squirrels from eating it.

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News Headlines - 12 July 2022

Japan pays farewell to former PM Abe | NHK WORLD

The funeral for former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo was held in Tokyo on Tuesday, four days after he was shot and killed during a speech.
The funeral was held at Zojoji temple. There was also a wake there Monday night, drawing 2,500 mourners including Abe's political allies and adversaries, foreign dignitaries and business leaders.

Uber broke laws, duped police and secretly lobbied governments, leak reveals | The Guardian

Aleaked trove of confidential files has revealed the inside story of how the tech giant Uber flouted laws, duped police, exploited violence against drivers and secretly lobbied governments during its aggressive global expansion.
The unprecedented leak to the Guardian of more than 124,000 documents – known as the Uber files – lays bare the ethically questionable practices that fuelled the company’s transformation into one of Silicon Valley’s most famous exports.
The leak spans a five-year period when Uber was run by its co-founder Travis Kalanick, who tried to force the cab-hailing service into cities around the world, even if that meant breaching laws and taxi regulations.

Sir Mo Farah reveals he was trafficked to the UK as a child - BBC News

Sir Mo Farah was brought to the UK illegally as a child and forced to work as a domestic servant, he has revealed.
The Olympic star has told the BBC he was given the name Mohamed Farah by those who flew him over from Djibouti. His real name is Hussein Abdi Kahin.
He was flown over from the East African country aged nine by a woman he had never met, and then made to look after another family's children, he says.

India to surpass China as most populous country in 2023, UN report says - CNN

India is set to surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2023, with each counting more than 1.4 billion residents this year, a United Nations report said on Monday, warning that high fertility would challenge economic growth.
The world’s population, estimated to reach 8 billion by November 15 this year, could grow to 8.5 billion in 2030, and 10.4 billion in 2100, as the pace of mortality slows, said the report released on World Population Day.
India’s population was 1.21 billion in 2011, according to the domestic census, which is conducted once a decade. The government had deferred the 2021 census due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

James Webb Space Telescope's first full-color photo is here

The first image from NASA's James Webb Space Telescope offered humanity a stunning new view of the universe on Monday — a first-of-its-kind infrared image so distant in the cosmos that it shows stars and galaxies as they appeared 13 billion years ago.

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News Headlines - 11 July 2022

Japan ruling party wins big in upper house election after ex-PM Abe's death

Japan's ruling party scored a sweeping victory in Sunday's House of Councillors election, helping pro-constitutional amendment forces retain the two-thirds majority needed to push for revising the supreme law, an unaccomplished goal of former leader Shinzo Abe whose assassination days earlier shocked the nation.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's Liberal Democratic Party grabbed 63 seats, or more than half of the 125 seats up for grabs, buoyed by strong voter support in a show of public confidence in his nine-month-old administration despite the country struggling with rising prices and security threats posed by Russia's war in Ukraine.
In all, the LDP and its coalition partner Komeito secured a total of 76 seats, comfortably retaining a majority in the 248-member upper chamber of parliament.

Unification Church says Abe shooter's mother is follower - Nikkei Asia

The Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, widely known as the Unification Church, said Monday that the mother of a man who fatally shot former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is a follower of the religious group.
Tomihiro Tanaka, president of the Japan branch of the group, also said in a news conference in Tokyo that Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, is not a follower and that he had "not directly expressed grudges" to any of the group's members... The president also said that if resentment against the group is proven to have motivated Yamagami to shoot Abe, they will have to "take the situation seriously."
Tanaka also denied the group's links to Abe but admitted that the former Japanese premier had sent a video message to its affiliated organization Universal Peace Federation. Both groups were established by South Korean Moon Sun Myung, according to Tanaka.

Zhengzhou, Henan protests: China crushes mass demonstration by bank depositors demanding their life savings back - CNN

Chinese authorities on Sunday violently dispersed a peaceful protest by hundreds of depositors, who sought in vain to demand their life savings back from banks that have run into a deepening cash crisis.
Since April, four rural banks in China’s central Henan province have frozen millions of dollars worth of deposits, threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of customers in an economy already battered by draconian Covid lockdowns... On Sunday, more than 1,000 depositors from across China gathered outside the Zhengzhou branch of the country’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, to launch their largest protest yet, more than half a dozen protesters told CNN.

Macau shuts down casinos following Covid outbreak - BBC News

Macau closed all its casinos for the first time in more than two years on Monday after a coronavirus outbreak in the world's biggest gambling hub.
Authorities have ordered non-essential businesses, which includes over 30 casinos, to shut for a week.
The city has recorded 1,526 Covid cases since the middle of June according to official figures.

Monty Norman Dead: James Bond Theme Composer Was 94 - Variety

Monty Norman, the composer behind the iconic James Bond theme, has died at the age of 94... Norman most famously composed the score for “Dr. No,” the 1962 James Bond film starring Sean Connery. His theme for James Bond, as arranged by fellow Englishman John Barry, would go on to become the theme for the entire franchise.

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News Headlines - 10 July 2022

UN observes minute of silence for Shinzo Abe as Guterres 'saddened by horrific killing' | Rest of the World News

Paying homage to the late ex-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Friday held a minute of silence just ahead of a meeting on the Middle East. The representatives of the member nations stood in silence at the convention room in New York headquarters to pay their due respects to the longest-serving Prime Minister of Japan...

Billions of people rely on wild species for food, fuel, income: UN

Rampant exploitation of nature is a threat to the billions of people across the world who rely on wild species for food, energy and income, according to a new report from United Nations biodiversity experts published Friday... The report, which took four years to produce and has been written by 85 experts from different specialist fields, comes as the UN steers a crucial international process to lay out a framework for protecting nature in the coming decades... One major issue is illicit trade in wild species, estimated to be worth between $69 billion and $199 billion a year, which IPBES said was the third largest illegal market after human trafficking and drugs.

Minneapolis ex-cop Chauvin gets 21 years in prison for violating George Floyd's rights | Reuters

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, convicted last year of murdering George Floyd, was sentenced on Thursday to 21 years in prison on separate federal charges of violating Floyd's civil rights during the deadly May 2020 arrest, with the judge calling the ex-cop's actions unconscionable.

Ruling party’s ethics panel suspends Lee Jun-seok for six months

The ruling People Power Party on Friday suspended its chairman’s membership in connection to allegations surrounding sexual bribery, a decision expected to cause immense turmoil within the ruling bloc and broader political circles.
The internal ethics panel of the People Power Party announced at 2:45 a.m. Friday, after an eight-hour-long meeting, that they have decided to suspend Chairman Lee Jun-seok for the next six months, threatening his chances of finishing his term, which ends next June.
The panel said they did not find Lee’s defense trustworthy but decided to only suspend his membership temporarily, considering his contribution to the party’s victory in the presidential election in March and the local elections last month.

Japan's top court upholds damages ruling in #MeToo rape case | The Japan Times

The Supreme Court has finalized a ruling ordering a former senior television reporter to pay journalist Shiori Ito ¥3.3 million ($24,000) in damages over a high-profile rape case that helped spark Japan’s #MeToo movement... The top court’s ruling was dated July 7.

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News Headlines - 09 July 2022

Sri Lanka president flees as thousands of protesters storm palace, jump in pool | The Times of Israel

Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled his official residence on Saturday shortly before protesters, angered by an unprecedented economic crisis, overran the compound and stormed his nearby office... Footage broadcast live on social media showed hundreds of people walking through the palace, with some among the boisterous crowd jumping into the compound’s pool for a swim.

Ukraine fires ambassadors to Germany, India, Czech Republic, Norway, Hungary

Ukraine dismissed five ambassadors in a diplomatic shakeup Saturday... Kyiv’s relations with Germany, which relies heavily on Russian oil and natural gas to fuel Europe’s biggest economy, are particularly sensitive.
Melnyk, 46, won praise for his aggressive efforts to push for more German backing for the war — he once accused German Chancellor Olaf Scholz of behaving like an “offended liver sausage.”
But controversial comments last week from the outspoken ambassador, who was appointed by Zelensky’s predecessor, about Stepan Bandera, a Ukranian nationalist leader implicated in collaboration Nazi Germany during World War II, put him in the spotlight in a negative way.

Suspected Abe assassin cited religious group grudge as reason | The Asahi Shimbun

A man who was arrested in connection with the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on July 8 told investigators that he harbored a “grudge” against him, citing a religious organization, investigative sources said.
“My family joined that religion and our life became harder after donating money to the organization,” Tetsuya Yamagami, who is unemployed, was quoted by the sources as telling police. “I had wanted to target the top official of the organization, but it was difficult. So, I took aim at Abe since I believed that he was tied (to the organization). I wanted to kill him.”
Yamagami, 41, a resident of Nara, also told police that he does not hold any ill feelings toward Abe’s political convictions.

"Yu-Gi-Oh!" cartoonist Kazuki Takahashi found dead at sea

Kazuki Takahashi, the creator of the popular "Yu-Gi-Oh!" manga series, was found dead in the ocean off the coast of southern Japan while on an apparent snorkeling trip, according to coast guard officials. He was 60.
Takahashi was wearing snorkeling gear and flippers when he was found Wednesday morning around 300 meters off the coast of Nago in Okinawa Prefecture by a local tourism worker who then alerted the authorities, the officials said Thursday.

Great Salt Lake falls to lowest level on record for second year in a row - CNN

The Great Salt Lake in Utah has dropped to its lowest level on record for the second time in less than a year as a climate change-fueled megadrought tightens its grip in the West.
The lake's surface water elevation fell to 4,190 feet on Sunday, according to data from the US Geological Survey -- below the previous record set in 2021 and the lowest it has ever been since it was first measured in the mid-1800s. Before last year, the lake's low record was 4,191.4 feet in October 1963.
Utah officials are now calling for "urgent action" to preserve the Great Salt Lake amid its third straight year of decline.

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News Headlines - 08 July 2022

Ex-PM Abe dies after being shot during speech in west Japan - The Mainichi

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died after being shot by a man during a stump speech in the western Japan city of Nara on July 8, sources close to the case have revealed. He was 67.
Abe was delivering a campaign speech for a candidate in the July 10 House of Councillors election near Kintetsu Railway Co.'s Yamato-Saidaiji Station when he was shot at around 11:25 a.m.
He was transported to Nara Medical University Hospital but was in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest.

‘A loss for the world’: leaders unite in condemning Shinzo Abe assassination | The Guardian

From Washington to Tehran, Seoul to Kyiv, political leaders around the world have condemned the assassination of the former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, and paid tribute to the country’s longest-serving leader.

Japan braces for seventh Covid-19 wave

JAPAN is bracing for a seventh wave of coronavirus infections amid a rebound that saw almost 50,000 cases on Thursday.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said the capital "can be considered to have entered the seventh wave" as there were 8,529 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday... Kyodo News reports that Japan exceeded the 40,000 mark on Wednesday for the first time since May 18 with 45,821 new cases confirmed and higher case counts in each of the country's 47 prefectures.

Central bank’s bond purchases reach a record 16 trillion yen | The Asahi Shimbun

The Bank of Japan's purchase of Japanese government bonds hit a monthly record of 16.2 trillion yen ($119.5 billion) in June, the central bank said on July 7... The purchase amount increased 9 trillion yen more than in May as the central bank scrambled to buy bonds to keep the benchmark 10-year government bond yield under the BOJ-set cap of 0.25 percent amid the selling pressure.
The BOJ decided in April to buy an unlimited number of government bonds at a fixed rate to keep the yield from rising.

One million Muslims start Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca | Al Jazeera

Pilgrims gathered for dawn prayers and performed the initial rites of the Hajj on Thursday in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca, in the largest Islamic pilgrimage since the coronavirus pandemic upended the event – one of the five pillars of Islam.
This year’s Hajj is larger than the pared-down versions staged in 2020 and 2021, but is still smaller than those held before the pandemic.
In 2019, some 2.5 million Muslims from around the world participated in the annual event.

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News Headlines - 07 July 2022

Seoul spy agency files charges against ex-chiefs over North Korea | The Asahi Shimbun

The National Intelligence Service accused former director Park Jie-won, who served from 2020 to May this year, of destroying intelligence reports related to North Korea’s fatal shooting of an unarmed South Korean citizen in waters near the countries’ western sea border in 2020.
In a statement, the agency also alleged that Park’s predecessor, Suh Hoon, forcibly closed an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the 2019 repatriation of two North Korean fisherman captured in South Korean waters.

Turkey hit with soaring prices as inflation nears 80% | The Guardian

Turkey’s official inflation rate increased to almost 80% last month – the highest in 24 years – as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s unconventional economic policies continued to drive up the cost of living.
The growth in annual prices rose from 73.5% in May to 78.6% in June, according to the Turkish statistics agency.

Bank of Japan buys record $119 bil. in gov't bonds in June - The Mainichi

The Bank of Japan bought 16.20 trillion yen ($119 billion) worth of Japanese government bonds in June, setting a monthly record, after it sought to stem a rise in long-term yields above its upper limit to ensure monetary easing, data showed Thursday.
The BOJ's attempt to defend its 0.25 percent cap on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond yield came as rising long-term interest rates overseas pulled their Japanese counterparts higher... The previous monthly high was 11.58 trillion yen in April 2016.

AirTag tracking device found attached to Aichi police vehicle | The Asahi Shimbun

Aichi prefectural police discovered an AirTag was placed on one of its vehicles, raising concerns that criminals may be using the devices to track police movements, according to sources.
An AirTag is a battery-operated tracking device developed by Apple Inc. to help people find lost personal items--such as their wallet, keys or luggage--by using their iPhone.
Sources said the AirTag was found attached to a police vehicle parked in a visitor parking lot at the prefectural police’s Toyota Police Station in May.

Elon Musk's deal to buy Twitter is in peril - The Washington Post

Elon Musk’s deal to buy Twitter is in serious jeopardy, three people familiar with the matter say, as Musk’s camp concluded that Twitter’s figures on spam accounts are not verifiable.

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News Headlines - 06 July 2022

Rise in COVID cases prompts Japan to consider delaying travel subsidy | The Japan Times

As the government is becoming increasingly concerned about a rise in COVID-19 cases across the country, there are growing doubts about the start of a nationwide travel subsidy program in early July as initially planned.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is likely to wait until after Sunday's Upper House election before deciding whether to launch a new tourism promotion campaign, government sources said Tuesday.
Some observers say Kishida thinks it inadvisable to make a decision on the matter before the election. One option is to make a decision next week after hearing opinions from experts.

Sri Lanka president asks Russia’s Putin to help import fuel | Al Jazeera

Sri Lanka’s president says he urged his Russian counterpart to help his cash-strapped island nation import fuel as it faces its worst economic crisis in decades.
Short of foreign exchange due to years of economic mismanagement and the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, Sri Lanka has been struggling to import essentials, leading to severe shortages of medicine, food and fuel.

Chicago shooting suspect dressed as a woman as he escaped the scene, police say | Sky News

The man suspected of shooting dead seven people in Chicago was dressed as a woman to hide his facial tattoos, in a bid to blend in as he escaped the scene, police have said.
Robert E Crimo III, 21, was arrested after the shooting at a Fourth Of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park.

Ukrainian mathematician becomes second woman to win prestigious Fields Medal

Ukrainian number theorist Maryna Viazovska is among the four winners of the 2022 Fields Medal, one of the highest honours in mathematics, which is conventionally awarded to people under 40. The other winners are James Maynard, a number theorist at the University of Oxford, UK; June Huh, a specialist in combinatorics at Princeton University in New Jersey; and Hugo Duminil-Copin, who studies statistical physics at the Institute of Advanced Scientific Studies near Paris. The International Mathematical Union (IMU) announced the winners at an award ceremony in Helsinki on 5 July.

A new giant waterlily has turned up at Kew Gardens | The Economist

A giant waterlily grown at Kew Gardens has been named as new to science, in the first discovery of its type in more than a century... In 2016, Bolivian institutions Santa Cruz de la Sierra Botanic Garden and La Rinconada Gardens donated a collection of giant waterlily seeds from the suspected third species. These were germinated and grown at Kew, so it could be grown side-by-side with the other two species. Scientists also studied the DNA of the three plants, and found they were distinctly different.
The three species in the genus are Victoria amazonica, cruziana and boliviana, named after Queen Victoria. The results, published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science, suggest that the new species is most closely related to Victoria cruziana, and that they diverged about a million years ago.

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News Headlines - 05 July 2022

Chile Finalizes New Constitution, but Passage Is Uncertain | Time

After a year-long, turbulent drafting process, Chile’s proposed new constitution was submitted to President Gabriel Boric on Monday, bringing the country one step closer to abandoning the legacy of Augusto Pinochet’s 17-year dictatorship. The move puts Chile on a path towards having one of the most democratic and progressive constitutions in the world.
If approved by voters in a Sept. 4 referendum, the new text will replace the constitution designed by Pinochet in 1980. Many Chileans blame the constitution—which follows a neoliberal model—for causing Chile to become one of the most unequal countries in the world.

El Salvador woman's 50-year jail sentence outrages abortion rights group | Reuters

A woman in El Salvador has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for aggravated homicide in a controversial case in which authorities argued she had killed her baby after giving birth, while her defenders said she had suffered a miscarriage.
Salvadoran authorities said the woman carried her baby to near-full term and gave birth in June 2020. After having the baby, she stabbed it in the neck six times, they said... El Salvador has some of the world's harshest anti-abortion laws, which ban all kinds of terminations even if the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother's life or results from rape or incest... According to the Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion, four women are imprisoned and another five have been charged in El Salvador in similar cases.

Sri Lanka admits bankruptcy, warns of crisis through 2023

Sri Lanka is bankrupt and the acute pain of its unprecedented economic crisis will linger on until at least the end of next year, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament today.
The island nation's 22 million people have endured months of galloping inflation and lengthy power cuts after the government ran out of foreign currency to import vital goods.
Wickremesinghe said the once-prosperous country will go into deep recession this year and acute shortages of food, fuel and medicine will continue.

Five years after vanishing, Chinese-Canadian billionaire faces trial | The Japan Times

More than five years after his mysterious disappearance from a luxury hotel in Hong Kong, a Chinese Canadian billionaire and onetime trusted financier to China’s political elite has been put on trial in a case that epitomizes the ruling Communist Party’s efforts to rein in an earlier era of freewheeling capitalism.
Chinese authorities have not released details of the charges against the financier, Xiao Jianhua. The Canadian Embassy in Beijing said in an emailed statement that it was aware of Monday’s trial, and that it was monitoring the case closely. The embassy added that it was providing consular services to Xiao’s family and would continue to press for consular access, but it declined to provide more information out of concern for Xiao’s privacy, it said.

Hacker claims to have obtained data on 1 billion Chinese citizens | The Guardian

A hacker has claimed to have stolen the personal information of 1 billion Chinese citizens from a Shanghai police database, in what would amount to one of the biggest data breaches in history if found to be true.
The anonymous hacker, identified only as “ChinaDan”, posted on hacker forum Breach Forums last week offering to sell the more than 23 terabytes (TB) of data for 10 bitcoin, equivalent to about $200,000 (£165,000).

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News Headlines - 04 July 2022

U.S.-led Pacific naval drill launched amid rising China tensions

U.S. allies in the Indo-Pacific region including Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines are participating in the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise, regarded as the world's biggest naval training starting from Wednesday, according to the U.S. Navy.
The exercise, known as RIMPAC, started at a time China is maintaining military pressure on Taiwan... The U.S. Congress urged President Joe Biden to invite Taiwan to the drill under the National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year through September 2022 which was enacted last December. But he held off on such a move apparently to avoid any further escalation in tensions with China.

Japan FY2021/22 tax revenue seen revised up to record amount -draft | Reuters

Japan's government has revised up its estimates of national tax revenue from the last fiscal year ended in March, as a weak yen and economic recovery from the pandemic helped boost big firms' profits, a draft seen by Reuters showed on Monday.
The fiscal 2021 tax revenue was likely to come to 67.0 trillion yen ($496.15 billion), a record for a second straight year, with the three major tax revenues from the sales tax, corporate tax and income tax, all revised up from earlier estimates... Fiscal law stipulates that half of the budget left over from the previous fiscal year can be spent on an extra budget that may be compiled later in the current fiscal year.

18 killed, hundreds wounded amid unrest in Uzbekistan province - The Hindu

Eighteen people were killed and 243 wounded during unrest in Uzbekistan's autonomous province of Karakalpakstan which broke out last week over plans to curtail its autonomy, Uzbek authorities said on Monday.

3 dead, 3 critically wounded in shooting at Denmark mall | AP News

A gunman opened fire inside a busy shopping mall in the Danish capital Sunday, killing three people and critically wounding three others, police said.
A 22-year-old Danish man was arrested after the shooting, Copenhagen police inspector Søren Thomassen told reporters, adding there was no indication that anyone else was involved in the attack, though police were still investigating.

Premier League star arrested on suspicion of rape

A Premier League international footballer has been arrested in North London on suspicion of rape, Telegraph Sport understands.
The player, who is in his late 20s and cannot be named for legal reasons, is currently in custody being quizzed over an alleged attack which is said to have taken place last month... The player is internationally renowned and it is unclear whether he will now play in his club's pre-season fixture schedule. The Premier League season begins on August 5 and the player is also due to play at the World Cup in Qatar this November.

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News Headlines - 03 July 2022

Libya protesters storm parliament building in Tobruk - BBC News

Protesters have stormed Libya's parliament in the eastern city of Tobruk and set fire to part of the building... There have been rallies in other Libyan cities against continuing power cuts, rising prices and political deadlock.
In the capital, Tripoli, where a rival administration holds sway, protesters called for elections.
Their demand was backed by the head of the interim unity government, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who said all the country's institutions needed to be changed.

Biden invites Marcos to US

United States President Joe Biden has invited President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. for a visit to Washington D.C., Philippine Ambassador to US Jose Manuel Romualdez said.
“Yes, invited pero wala pang agreed date (but there is still no agreed date yet),” Romualdez said in a message to CNN Philippines.
According to Romualdez, US Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff personally handed Biden’s invitation letter to Marcos.
Emhoff, husband of US Vice President Kamala Harris, attended Marcos’ inauguration to lead the US delegation.

Suspect in Murder of Off-Road Cyclist Is Arrested in Costa Rica - The New York Times

A woman who had been named as a suspect in the murder of a rising off-road cycling star in Texas last month has been arrested in Costa Rica, the authorities said on Thursday, ending a 43-day search.
The U.S. Marshals Service said that the suspect, Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, had been found on Wednesday at a hostel in Santa Teresa Beach in Provincia de Puntarenas on Costa Rica’s west coast. She will be extradited to the United States, the authorities said.
Ms. Armstrong, 34, had been sought in the death of Anna Moriah Wilson, who competed in gravel cycling, a discipline that blends mountain biking and road cycling. Ms. Wilson, 25, died shortly after she was found unconscious and bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds at a friend’s home in Austin, Texas, on May 11, the authorities said.

Canadian rocker reunited with stolen guitar in Tokyo after 45 yrs

Canadian musician Randy Bachman, a former member of rock band The Guess Who, was recently reunited with his beloved guitar in Tokyo some 45 years after it was stolen... Bachman was in his late teens when he bought the guitar, a Gretsch made in 1957, while out with music legend and longtime friend Neil Young. Bachman cherished the instrument, whose sound can be heard on The Guess Who hit "American Woman," until 1977 when it was stolen from a Toronto hotel.
An extensive search for the guitar brought up nothing, and its whereabouts had long been a mystery, until Bachman one day uploaded a video to YouTube telling its story. A fan in Canada then began using its distinctive woodgrain pattern to search online.
Eventually, he tracked the Gretsch to Japanese musician Takeshi, a songwriter for idol groups including Kanjani Eight, who it transpired had bought the guitar at a secondhand instrument store in Tokyo.

KDDI's days-long mobile disruption affects up to 39 mil. connections

KDDI Corp., a major Japanese telecom company, said Sunday it has finished work to restore services to up to 39.15 million mobile connections that have been affected by a network disruption for around two days, in what has been viewed as the industry's most serious outage to date.
But the "au" mobile brand operator stopped short of saying when its connections will fully recover after the failure not only prevented its users from making calls and getting online but also impacted such areas as banking, transmission of weather data, parcel deliveries and network-connected cars.

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News Headlines - 02 July 2022

Pension fund logs ¥10 tril. gain in FY 2021 - The Japan News

Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund said Friday that it logged a net investment gain of ¥10,092.5 billion in fiscal 2021 through March, securing a profit for the second straight year.
The gain is attributed to a sharp rise in foreign stocks on expectations for an economic recovery from the novel coronavirus fallouts.
Due to higher interest rates so far this year, however, the public pension fund logged an investment loss in January-March for the first time in eight quarters. The GPIF put the appraised value of its Russia-related assets at “zero in principle” after sanctions imposed for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine made transactions involving such assets difficult.

Japan in energy-saving period for 1st time in 7 yrs amid heat wave

Japanese households and businesses on Friday entered a three-month period to conserve electricity to prevent a power crunch amid a record-breaking heat wave, marking the first time in seven years that the government has made such a request.
Unusually hot weather in June has kept power demand extremely high, with supply expected to remain tight throughout the summer due to persistent heat and infrastructure issues.
While a numerical target has not been set for the period through September, the government is calling for people to reduce energy consumption without disrupting daily life and economic activities.

2-year-old girl left home alone for 11 hours dies from heatstroke | The Asahi Shimbun

A 2-year-old girl left alone all day in her playpen in an apartment in Osaka Prefecture amid a nationwide heat wave died from heatstroke while her family went to a theme park.
Osaka prefectural police arrested Mayumi Ono, 46, along with her common-law husband, Takanori Momoda, 50, on June 30. They are accused of neglecting her granddaughter Yuha Ono for 11 hours in their apartment in Tondabayashi, Osaka Prefecture.
The girl died on June 29, and police announced on the evening of June 30 that the cause of death was heatstroke.

Ukrainian boy, 5, killed in French Riviera e-scooter collision

A five-year-old Ukrainian refugee died on Thursday after being hit by an electric scooter being ridden at high speed in the southern French city of Nice, police said.
The child and his mother were crossing the Promenade des Anglais, the famous palm-lined street overlooking the Mediterranean, at a pedestrian crossing when the accident happened on Wednesday... A 40-year-old on an electric scooter who was going “at excessive speed” could not avoid the child, they said.

Czech police seek burglar who watches people as they sleep | The Guardian

Czech police are looking for a man who has been breaking into people’s homes at night and watching them as they sleep, committing petty theft at times... Police have so far registered seven cases but said there could have been more... The suspect aged between 55 and 60, who has a limp, has mostly broken into houses in Prague. He has burgled one house twice within a year.

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News Headlines - 01 July 2022

China's Xi calls Hong Kong governance a success on 25th anniv. of handover

Chinese President Xi Jinping called his country's governance of Hong Kong a success on the 25th anniversary Friday of the handover of the former British colony as he attended a ceremony marking the special administrative region's transition into a new era under Beijing's tightened grip.
Making his first trip outside mainland China since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Xi said in a speech at the ceremony to swear in the city's new chief that Beijing's "one country, two systems" policy has "achieved success in Hong Kong recognized by all."

An FCC Commissioner Wants TikTok Removed From App Stores After BuzzFeed News Found American User Data Was Repeatedly Accessed In China

An FCC commissioner has asked Apple and Google to remove popular video platform TikTok from app stores days after a BuzzFeed News report showed how the company’s China-based employees repeatedly accessed data of American users despite the TikTok’s repeated denials over the years.

London City airport looks to expand to meet post-Covid recovery in travel | Financial Times

The London Docklands airstrip has launched a 10-week consultation on increasing the cap on how many passengers can fly in and out, as it seeks to lift the number from the current 6.5mn to 9mn by 2031... The airport wants the current prohibition on take-offs and landings between 12.30pm on a Saturday and 12.30pm on a Sunday to be relaxed; it wants to be allowed to operate between 6.30am and 10pm on a Saturday.

India bans 19 single-use plastic items to combat pollution | Al Jazeera

India has imposed a ban on single-use plastics on items ranging from straws to cigarette packets to combat worsening pollution in the nation of nearly 1.4 billion people.
The ban on single-use plastic items includes straws, cutlery, earbuds, packaging films, plastic sticks for balloons, candy and ice cream, and cigarette packets, among other products, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a statement on Friday.

Ex-KAT-TUN singer Tanaka arrested again for drug possession, 9 days after getting suspended sentence - Japan Today

Police in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Thursday arrested a former member of KAT-TUN, an all-male idol group, on suspicion of violating the Stimulants Control Law, just nine days after he was convicted and given a suspended sentence for a similar crime earlier this year.
According to police, Koki Tanaka, 36, was acting in a “suspicious manner” outside Kashiwa Station at around 10 p.m. Thursday, Kyodo News reported. Police did not specify what Tanaka was doing, but said that he tried to avert their gaze as they approached him... The arrest came after the Nagoya District Court convicted Tanaka on June 20 and sentenced him to 20 months in prison, suspended for three years.

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News Headlines - 30 June 2022

Ferdinand Marcos Jr sworn in as Philippines president | Al Jazeera

Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the son and namesake of the Philippines’ late dictator, has been sworn in as the country’s new president.
Marcos Jr’s inauguration on Thursday marks a stunning political comeback for one of Asia’s most famous political dynasties, 36 years after the elder Marcos was toppled and forced into exile in a popular uprising.
Known as “Bongbong”, the 64-year-old Marcos Jr won a rare landslide victory in last month’s presidential election, helped by what critics have said was a years-long campaign to whitewash his family’s image.

Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska says relationship with husband ‘on pause’ | The Independent

Ukraine’s first lady said her marriage has been “on pause” since the war with Russian began.
Olena Zelenska revealed her relationship with hubsand Volodymyr Zelensky has dramatically changed amid the ongoing conflict and the pair are forbidden from seeing each other for long periods during the war.
In an interview aired Tuesday, Olena Zelenska told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that she is not allowed to see Mr Zelensky very often and when she does, it's only for a short period of time.

WHO worried by global impact of U.S. abortion ruling | The Japan Times

The World Health Organization warned Wednesday that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling ending the nationwide right to abortion risked having a detrimental impact far beyond the United States.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described the decision by the top U.S. court to scrap half a century of constitutional protections for abortion rights as “a setback.”

Court nixes sex business firm's damages claim over virus handout snub

A Japanese court dismissed Thursday a damages lawsuit arguing the government's blanket exclusion of the sex industry from a cash handout program for pandemic-hit small companies violates the right to equality guaranteed under the Constitution.
In the lawsuit filed with the Tokyo District Court in September, 2020, a woman running a sex worker-dispatching business in western Japan demanded the payment of the benefits, as well as money totaling 4.46 million yen ($33,000) for having been discriminated against "without reasonable grounds."
But the court ruled that the government relief measure "does not constitute discrimination without reasonable grounds."

Olympics: Tokyo Games organizing committee officially ends operation - The Mainichi

The Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games organizing committee officially ceased operations Thursday, eight-and-a-half years after its incorporation.
At the final staff meeting in Tokyo, organizing committee President Seiko Hashimoto praised members for successfully staging the games last summer in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and other highly publicized crises.

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News Headlines - 29 June 2022

Iran applies to join China and Russia in BRICS club | Reuters

Iran, which holds the world's second largest gas reserves, has applied to join the BRICS group of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa that Beijing and Moscow cast as a powerful emerging market alternative to the West.
The term BRIC was coined by Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neill in 2001 to describe the startling rise of Brazil, Russia, India and China. The BRIC powers had their first summit in 2009 in Russia. South Africa joined in 2010.
Iranian membership in BRICS "would result in added values for both sides", Tehran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson said. Russia said Argentina had also applied to join.

ODX private financial exchange opens in Japan | The Japan Times

The Osaka Digital Exchange, or ODX, a new private financial exchange in Japan, opened on Monday, starting trading of stocks and exchange-traded funds.
The ODX became the third private financial exchange to open in the country... Osaka Digital Exchange Co., the operator of the ODX, is 70% owned by SBI PTS Holdings Co., 20% by Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. and 5% each by Nomura Holdings Inc. and Daiwa Securities Group Inc..

Sony Inzone announcement: New gaming headsets and gaming monitors designed for e-sports | The Independent

Sony has revealed a new range of gaming accessories designed for e-sports players and professional gamers. Called Inzone, the line-up will launch with three gaming headsets, the Inzone H9, H7 and H3.
The new Inzone brand will also get two gaming monitors, the Inzone M9 and M3, which will launch in summer and winter.
Unlike the PlayStation-branded Pulse headset, the Inzone displays and headphones are the product of Sony’s electronics division and have more in common with the brand’s wireless WH-1000XM5 headphones than they do with any existing gaming accessories.

Japan's weekly number of heatstroke victims hits record for June | The Japan Times

The weekly tally of people taken to hospitals by ambulance due to heatstroke has risen to a record high for June, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency has said.
The number reached 4,551 in the week through Sunday, up 3.4 times from the previous week, the agency said Tuesday. Four of the victims died... Of the total, 2,458 people, or 54%, were age 65 or over.

8-year-old Florida boy accidentally shoots and kills baby | AP News

An 8-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed a 1-year-old girl and injured a 2-year-old girl at a Florida motel on Sunday, authorities said.
The boy’s father left the gun holstered in his Pensacola motel room closet. After he left the room, his son found it and fired a round that passed through and killed the baby and struck the toddler, said Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons during a news conference Monday. The children who were shot belonged to the girlfriend of the father.
The toddler is expected to recover, Simmons said.

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News Headlines - 28 June 2022

Rainy season ends early for 5 more regions, first time in June | The Asahi Shimbun

The Japan Meteorological Agency announced on June 28 that rainy season appears to have ended for the Kinki, Hokuriku, Chugoku, Shikoku and northern Kyushu regions, the shortest duration for most since record-keeping began 70 years ago.
The end of rainy season came 19 to 25 days earlier than usual. If confirmed, it would be the first time for a June ending in these areas since statistics began being kept in 1951.

Cambodia ruling party wins 80% of local council seats - Nikkei Asia

Cambodia's national election committee on Sunday released the official results of June 5 local elections and said the ruling Cambodian People's Party of Prime Minister Hun Sen has won about 80 percent of local council seats.
The CPP won 9,376 out of total 11,622 commune council seats in the fifth communal elections, the committee said.
Of the total 1,652 commune councils, the CPP had obtained chair positions in 1,648, according to the committee.

Thirteen killed, 251 injured by gas leak in Jordan port city | Al Jazeera

A chlorine gas leak in Jordan’s southern port city of Aqaba on Monday killed at least 10 people and injured 251, said Faisal al-Shaboul, a government spokesman.
The leak came after a tank filled with 25 tonnes of chlorine gas being exported to Djibouti fell while being transported, officials said.

Sudanese forces attack Ethiopian troops in Al-Fashaga area - Sudan Tribune

Sudanese army launched a large-scale attack on the Ethiopian troops remaining inside the disputed border area of Al Fashaga on Tuesday, Sudan Tribune can confirm.
The attack takes place after the murder of seven Sudanese soldiers that had been captured by Ethiopian forces on June 22, and their bodies were displayed in the streets and their photos circulated on social media.

Brazil: Raped girl, 11, gets abortion after initial refusal | AP News

Brazilian prosecutors said Thursday that a raped 11-year-old girl had received a legal abortion after a judge blocked her for weeks from ending her pregnancy.
Federal prosecutors in the state of Santa Catarina said in a statement that Polydoro Ernani de São Thiago hospital had taken “measures to interrupt the minor’s pregnancy” after a formal request made on behalf of the girl’s family... Doctors had earlier refused to perform the procedure because the child was in her 22nd week of pregnancy.

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News Headlines - 27 June 2022

Russia's Killnet hacker group says it attacked Lithuania | Reuters

Russian hacker group Killnet claimed responsibility on Monday for a DDOS cyber attack on Lithuania, saying it was in response to Vilnius's decision to block the transit of goods sanctioned by the European Union to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.
"The attack will continue until Lithuania lifts the blockade," a spokesperson for the Killnet group told Reuters. "We have demolished 1652 web resources. And that's just so far."

More companies with ties to Toyota targeted in cyberattacks | The Asahi Shimbun

Key suppliers to Toyota Motor Corp. are still not free of cyberattacks that have plagued some of the auto giant’s parts manufacturers in recent months.
TB Kawashima Co., a subsidiary of Toyota Boshoku Corp. that makes fabric for seat coverings, reported that its sales company in Thailand had been hit... In a similar incident, Kyoho Machine Works Ltd., another Toyota subsidiary that manufactures auto parts, was the target of a cyberattack. Plant operations were not affected, nor was there any sign that corporate data was stolen, officials said.

Drone registration system begins in Japan | NHK WORLD

Drone owners in Japan are obliged to register their craft with the government under a revised aviation law that took effect on Monday... The revised Civil Aeronautics Act obliges owners to register all of their unmanned aerial vehicles weighing 100 grams or more.
Flights of unregistered vehicles are banned. Violations may be punished by imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of up to 500,000 yen, or about 3,700 dollars.
The new system requires drones to carry their registration numbers. The vehicles must also be able to use radio waves to send out data on their location and speed.

Ex-special forces drop in to evict squatters from London property | Express.co.uk

NOT what the squatters expected - a team of special forces veterans abseiling down a posh London home to help evict them.

Four killed, 70 injured in partial collapse of bullring in Colombia | Reuters

Four people were killed and about 70 injured on Sunday when part of a stand collapsed at a bullring in the town of El Espinal, Colombia, provincial officials said.
Videos posted on social media showed the section of the stand toppling forward into the ring, where locals were participating in a bull-running event tied to the feast day of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

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News Headlines - 26 June 2022

Japan issues power usage warning for Tokyo area amid heatwaves - The Mainichi

The Japanese government issued a power usage warning for the first time Sunday as sweltering temperatures in Tokyo and surrounding areas are expected to put pressure on the system as businesses reopen Monday.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is particularly urging the public in Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s service area to save electricity via measures including turning off unnecessary lights in the demand-intensive 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. period on Monday.
The call comes as projections show the area's reserve power supply capacity ratio will be short of 5 percent Monday. The lowest level necessary for stable supply is said to be 3 percent.

Tokyo Olympics cost doubles to $13bn on COVID and overruns - Nikkei Asia

The price tag for last summer's pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics ballooned to 1.42 trillion yen (about $13 billion based on 2021 rates), nearly twice the initial estimate, with taxpayers footing 55%, the Tokyo organizing committee said Tuesday.
The report broke down the bill between the committee, which received funding from sponsors and the International Olympic Committee; the Tokyo government; and the central government. The share for the latter two came to 783.4 billion yen -- roughly 80% more than the 432.7 billion yen estimated in 2012. The total estimate was 734 billion yen at that time.

Exec returns to Toyota as adviser after 2015 arrest in Japan | The Asahi Shimbun

An American executive who resigned from Toyota after being arrested in Japan in 2015 on suspicion of drug law violations is back at the Japanese automaker, the company said Thursday.
Julie Hamp has been hired by Toyota Motor Corp.’s North American operations to support its chief executive, Akio Toyoda, and advise the company on global management, sustainability, governance and global media relations... Toyota said her return was not a problem because she was never prosecuted.

China's central bank, BIS set up renminbi liquidity arrangement | Reuters

China's central bank said on Saturday it had signed an agreement with the Bank for International Settlements to establish a Renminbi Liquidity Arrangement (RMBLA) that will provide support to participating central banks in times of market fluctuations.
The People's Bank of China (PBOC) said the arrangement's first participants, in addition to the PBOC, would include Bank Indonesia, the Central Bank of Malaysia, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Central Bank of Chile.
Each participant will contribute a minimum of 15 billion yuan ($2.2 billion) or the U.S. dollar equivalent, it said.

Saudi Arabia Injects Over $10 Billion in Liquidity-Starved Banks - BNN Bloomberg

The Saudi Central Bank placed about 50 billion riyals ($13 billion) as time deposits with commercial lenders, according to people familiar with the matter, seeking to ease the worst liquidity crunch in over a decade.
The intervention started just before the US Federal Reserve’s interest-rate hike this month, and consisted of money provided to banks at a discount to the three-month Saudi Interbank Offered Rate, or Saibor, used as a benchmark to price loans, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

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News Headlines - 25 June 2022

Prince Charles accepted €1m cash in suitcase from sheikh | The Sunday Times

The Prince of Wales accepted a suitcase containing €1 million in cash from a controversial Qatari politician, The Sunday Times can reveal.
It was one of three lots of cash, totalling €3 million, which Prince Charles personally received from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the former prime minister of Qatar who is nicknamed “HBJ”, between 2011 and 2015.

Oliver Dowden resigns as Conservative party chair after byelection losses | The Guardian

Oliver Dowden has resigned as Conservative co-chair after the party’s disastrous double byelection losses in Wakefield and in Tiverton and Honiton, saying someone “must take responsibility” for a recent run of poor results.
The Tory MP’s resignation letter, also sent in a tweet, comes after the party lost two seats in a single night. Labour took Wakefield and the Liberal Democrats overturned a 24,000-plus majority in Tiverton and Honiton.

Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen join Paul McCartney at Glastonbury - BBC News

Dave Grohl has joined Paul McCartney on stage at Glastonbury, in his first public performance since the death of Foo Fighters' drummer Taylor Hawkins.
Grohl was given a hero's welcome as he strode onto the Pyramid Stage to duet with McCartney on a gritty garage rock version of I Saw Her Standing There... Not content with one surprise, McCartney then brought out Bruce Springsteen to play Glory Days and I Wanna Be Your Man.

Two dead, several seriously hurt in gun attack on gay bar in Oslo where 'up to 20 shots' fired | Daily Mail Online

Two people have been killed and several seriously wounded in a shooting at a nightclub in Norway, police have confirmed.
Video on social media shows emergency services outside London Pub, a gay nightclub in Oslo at 1.15am on Saturday morning.
Police have arrested a suspect at the scene. He was said to have been apprehended nearby.

Toyota recalls first mass-produced EVs less than 2 months after launch | Reuters

Toyota Motor Corp said on Thursday it would recall 2,700 of its first mass-produced electric vehicles (EVs) for the global market because of a riskthe wheels could come loose.
The world's largest automaker by sales submitted the recall of the bZ4X SUVs to Japan's transportation ministry. Of the 2,700 vehicles, 2,200 were earmarked for Europe, 260 for the United States, 10 for Canada and 110 for Japan, the company said.
Subaru Corp also said Thursday it was globally recalling about 2,600 units of the Solterra, its first all-electric vehicle jointly developed with Toyota, for the same reason.

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News Headlines - 24 June 2022

SMBC Nikko’s internal probe decries ‘unjust acts’ by execs | The Asahi Shimbun

A committee set up by SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. to investigate alleged market manipulation within the company is condemning executives for “unjust acts” that were “intended” to prop up stock prices before the market closed.
In its official report published on June 24, committee members said they found “insufficient crisis awareness and the dysfunctional governance system" in the company as the reasons behind the alleged offenses.

Chinese fugitive wanted for racist videos of Malawi children arrested in Zambia | South China Morning Post

A fugitive Chinese national wanted in Malawi for filming children singing racist chants in Chinese has been arrested in neighbouring Zambia, an immigration official said Monday... Lu Ke is accused of exploiting children in Malawian villages by filming them making racist remarks about themselves, in Chinese phrases they did not understand.
He then sold the videos on Chinese social media, in a business uncovered last week by the BBC.

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi moved to prison solitary confinement | Al Jazeera

Myanmar’s deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been transferred from a secret detention location to solitary confinement in a prison compound in the capital, Naypyidaw, a spokesman for the country’s military government said.
“In accordance with criminal laws … [Aung San Suu Kyi] has been kept in solitary confinement in prison” since Wednesday, Zaw Min Tun said in a statement on Thursday.

At least 1,000 killed after strong earthquake jolts Afghanistan | Al Jazeera

The death toll from a powerful earthquake in Afghanistan has climbed to 1,000, with more than 1,500 others wounded, according to the Taliban’s the Culture and Information Department, as rescuers try to reach the site of the disaster in remote Paktika and Khost provinces.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the magnitude of the earthquake in the early hours of Wednesday was 5.9, revising an initial estimate at 6.1. The epicentre of the tremor was about 46km (27 miles) from the city of Khost, near the Pakistani border, the USGS said.

Maradona's Medical Personnel to Face Homicide Trial - Bloomberg

An Argentinian judge ruled on Wednesday that eight medical personnel involved in the care of soccer star Diego Maradona will face a public trial for criminal negligence.
Brain surgeon Leopoldo Luque and psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov are among those who will stand trial for homicide, the judge ruled. The trial is not expected to begin until the end of 2023 or early 2024.

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News Headlines - 23 June 2022

Campaigning starts for Japan's upper house election on July 10

Official campaigning began Wednesday in Japan for the House of Councillors election on July 10, as the ruling and opposition parties rush to address inflation concerns and spar over whether a more robust defense posture is necessary in the wake of Russia's war on Ukraine.
A total of 125 seats are up for grabs in the 248-member upper house, with a total of 545 people filing their candidacies. The number is a sharp rise from the 370 candidates in the last upper house election in 2019.

USB devices with personal data of all Amagasaki residents lost | The Asahi Shimbun

The employee works for a company that was subcontracted by the Kansai regional branch of Biprogy Inc. in Osaka to pay pandemic relief subsidies to households exempt from the residence tax on behalf of the city government... The USB storage devices contained personal information for all 460,000 Amagasaki residents.
The employee took the devices from the municipality’s administration information center to transfer the data.
After finishing the data transfer and drinking alcohol at a restaurant, the employee discovered on the way home the bag containing the devices was missing.

Japan court says ban on same-sex marriage constitutional : NPR

A Japanese court ruled Monday that the country's ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the constitution, and rejected demands for compensation by three couples who said their right to free union and equality has been violated.
The Osaka District Court ruling is the second decision on the issue, and disagrees with a ruling last year by a Sapporo court that found the ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional. It underscores how divisive the issue remains in Japan, the only member of the Group of Seven major industrialized nations that does not recognize same-sex unions.
In its ruling, the Osaka court rejected the plaintiffs' demand for 1 million yen ($7,400) in damages per couple for discrimination they face.

Hong Kong Palace Museum holds opening ceremony-Xinhua

The Hong Kong Palace Museum (HKPM), located in the West Kowloon Cultural District of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), held its opening ceremony on Wednesday.
The ceremony was co-organized by the HKSAR government and the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

IMF team visits crisis-hit Sri Lanka | NHK WORLD

A delegation of the International Monetary Fund has arrived in Sri Lanka, which is facing the worst economic crisis in its history, for talks on a bailout program.
The nine-member mission started talks with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and other officials in Colombo on Monday. The government hopes a basic agreement on assistance can be reached by the end of the month.
Also on Monday, all but a few public offices and schools shut down for two weeks. The government judged there isn't enough fuel to keep them open.

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News Headlines - 22 June 2022

Hong Kong's Jumbo floating restaurant sinks at sea | CNN Travel

Jumbo Kingdom, a three-story vessel, the exterior of which was styled after a Chinese imperial palace, was towed away by tugboats last Tuesday after nearly half a century moored in the city's southwest waters.
The restaurant's main boat was traveling to an undisclosed shipyard when it capsized on Saturday after meeting "adverse conditions" near the Paracel Islands (also known as the Xisha Islands) in the South China Sea, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises Limited said in a statement Monday.
The boat sank more than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), making salvage work "extremely difficult," the statement said.

Yoon hosts party to mark presidential office relocation

President Yoon Suk-yeol hosted a "housewarming" event in the front yard of the presidential office in central Seoul on Sunday, inviting some 400 neighbors and others to celebrate the relocation of the office.
Living up to his campaign pledge, Yoon has moved the presidential office to the former defense ministry building in Yongsan from Cheong Wa Dae in line with his campaign pledge to connect better with people.

Ex-Tokyo Gov. Inose criticized for touching female prospective candidate's body - The Mainichi

Former Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose has come under fire after footage showing him repeatedly touching a female prospective candidate for the House of Councillors election during a speech in Tokyo has gone viral on social media, drawing comments such as "That's gross" and "Isn't is sexual harassment?"
Inose, 75, an author, referred to the case via his Twitter account on June 17, saying, "I will act with the utmost care." Both Inose and the woman are planning to run for the July poll from the conservative opposition Japan Innovation Party (Nippon Ishin, JIP).

Canadian Lawmakers Issued Panic Buttons as Threats Rise

Canadian parliamentarians are being issued panic buttons to summon security or police in an emergency, officials said Tuesday as harassment, intimidation and threats of violence are on the rise.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, who announced the measure, has himself received online death threats in recent weeks in response to proposed legislation to curb handgun ownership.

Canada is banning single-use plastics by the end of the year

Canada is banning the manufacture and import of single-use plastics by the end of the year, the government announced on Monday, in a major effort to combat plastic waste and address climate change.
The ban will cover items like checkout bags, cutlery, straws, and food-service ware made from or containing plastics that are hard to recycle, with a few exceptions for medical reasons. It will come into effect in December 2022, and the sale of those items will be prohibited as of December 2023 to provide businesses in Canada enough time to transition and to deplete existing stocks, the government said.
Single-use plastics make up most of the plastic waste found on Canadian shorelines. Up to 15 billion plastic checkout bags are used each year and approximately 16 million straws are used every day, according to government data.

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News Headlines - 21 June 2022

Top Yeltsin Aide Gennady Burbulis Dies at 76 - The Moscow Times

Gennady Burbulis, a close associate of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin who was one of the signatories to an agreement ending the Soviet Union, died Sunday aged 76.
Burbulis was first deputy prime minister of the Russian Federative Socialist Republic when he helped draft and signed the Belovezha Accords, which declared the end of the U.S.S.R., on Dec. 8, 1991.
Two other signatories, Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk and Belarusian Parliament Chairman Stanislav Shushkevich, died earlier this year.

Venezuelan oil exports to Europe set to resume after two years | Reuters

A 650,000-barrel-cargo of Venezuela's oil chartered by Italy's Eni is about to set sail carrying the first export of crude from the U.S.-sanctioned country to Europe in two years, Refinitiv Eikon data showed on Friday.
The U.S. State Department sent letters to Eni and Spain's Repsol in May authorizing them to resume taking Venezuelan crude as a way to settle billions of dollars of unpaid debt and dividends owed by the OPEC-member nation.

Italy drought exposes historic WWII shipwreck ‘for the first time’ | Express.co.uk

While Italy’s worst drought in 70 years continues to wreak havoc in the country, it has also made the Zibello, a 160-foot (48.8 metre) barge almost completely visible. The ship, which transported wood during the war and sank in 1943, is usually hidden beneath the waters of the Po, a 405 mile-long river which stretches from the Cottian Alps to the Adriatic Sea.
Energy crisis lifeline as expert claims heat pumps a ‘no brainer’
But for a number of years now, onlookers were able to catch a glimpse of the top of the barge peering out of the Po.
Now, the intense drought has made the River Po’s water levels become so low that the wrecked Zibello is almost on full display.

Glass bridge launches at Georgia's Dashbashi Canyon | CNN Travel

A 240-meter-long (787 feet) glass bridge with a "diamond-shaped" bar suspended in the center was unveiled at Dashbashi Canyon, located around two hours drive from capital city Tbilisi, in Southern Georgia earlier this week.
Constructed by investment group Kass Group, which operates in Israel and Georgia, the huge transparent structure, which rises to 280 meters (around 919 feet,) stretches across the natural monument, offering panoramic views of its stunning waterfalls and caves.
Made from steel and glass, it took around three years to construct, with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili attending its official opening on June 14.

Security official appointed to Hong Kong's No.2 post | NHK WORLD

The Chinese government has appointed principal officials for the incoming government of Hong Kong, with the territory's second highest position to be assumed by a senior security figure.
State-run Xinhua news agency says the appointments came on Sunday, with Hong Kong's "Chief Secretary for Administration" position going to Eric Chan.
Chan is currently the secretary-general of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong, which was set up after the introduction of a national security law for the territory in 2020.

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News Headlines - 20 June 2022

Colombia election results: Left-wing candidate and former guerrilla Gustavo Petro wins presidential race - CNN

Gustavo Petro will become Colombia's first leftist leader, after winning the country's presidential race on Sunday.
The former guerrilla won by a slim margin with over 50% of the votes, against 77-year-old entrepreneur Rodolfo Hernandez. In this historic win, his running mate Francia Marquez will now become the first Afro-Colombian to hold executive powers.

Duterte's daughter takes oath as Philippine vice president | NHK WORLD

The daughter of outgoing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has indicated she will tackle drug issues as vice president, raising concern she may continue her father's hardline crackdowns on illegal drugs... The ceremony was attended by Duterte's father and the president-elect, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The father of the incoming president ruled the country with an iron fist until he was ousted in 1986.
Duterte was elected vice president by winning a record number of votes in the May 9 election. She and Marcos will take office on June 30.

Japanese PM Kishida's support edges down, voters critical about rising prices | Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's support edged down less than a month before a parliamentary election, with more than half of voters critical of how his government is handling rising prices, according to a survey published on Thursday... Support has been consistently high, with voters largely approving of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
But support edged down 2.1 points from the previous month's survey to 48.1%, slipping below 50% for the first time in four months, according to the survey conducted earlier this week by Jiji News Agency.

Joe Biden falls off bike riding near Delaware beach home

President Biden fell off his bicycle Saturday during yet another long weekend at his Rehoboth Beach, Del. vacation home as the nation’s economy – along with his poll numbers – also continued to stumble.
The 79-year-old commander-in-klutz dropped to the ground at 9:40 am and was instantly swarmed by Secret Service agents who rushed to help him to his feet.

The Royals Shared a New Photo of Prince William and His Kids For Father's Day

On Saturday, the royal family released some new images in anticipation of Father's Day featuring Prince William and his three children, Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4. Released on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's official Instagram account, it's a photo from a series taken in Jordan in the fall of 2021 during a family vacation.

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News Headlines - 19 June 2022

M5.4 earthquake hits Japan's Ishikawa Prefecture | NHK WORLD

The magnitude 5.4 earthquake struck the Noto region in Ishikawa Prefecture, shortly after 3 p.m. on Sunday.
No tsunami alert has been issued... Japan's Meteorological Agency says the quake was at a depth of about 10 kilometers.

Luggage chaos at Heathrow as passengers told they may not get bags back for 2 days - LBC

Heathrow Airport has apologised after a technical glitch caused a mass of suitcases to pile up at Terminal 2 on Friday.
The technical glitch - which has now been fixed - meant many passengers had issues checking in, and some of those who departed from Terminal 2 travelled without their luggage.

Monkeypox to get a new name, says WHO - BBC News

The World Health Organization says it is working with experts to come up with a new name for monkeypox.
It comes after more than 30 scientists wrote last week about the "urgent need for a non-discriminatory and non-stigmatising" name for the virus and the disease it causes.
Continued reference to the virus as African is both inaccurate and discriminatory, they said.

Jamal Khashoggi: Saudi embassy street in US renamed after murdered journalist - BBC News

A street in front of the Saudi embassy in Washington DC has been renamed after Jamal Khashoggi, whose murder by Saudi agents caused shock around the world.
The local government in the US capital said it had changed the name to Jamal Khashoggi Way to ensure the dissident's memory "cannot be covered up".

Russia's war in Ukraine could last years, NATO's Stoltenberg says | Reuters

Russia's war in Ukraine could take years, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a German weekly newspaper, adding that the supply of state-of-the-art weaponry to Ukrainian troops would increase the chance of liberating the Donbas region from Russian control... A NATO summit in Madrid later this month is expected to agree an assistance package for Ukraine that will help the country with the move from old Soviet-era weaponry to NATO standard gear, Stoltenberg said earlier this week.

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News Headlines - 18 June 2022

CDC Advisers Recommend COVID-19 Shots for Children Under 5

U.S. health advisers Saturday recommended COVID-19 vaccines for infants, toddlers and preschoolers — the last group without the shots.
The advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unanimously decided that coronavirus vaccines should be opened to children as young as 6 months. The final signoff was expected later in the day from CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky... Roughly 18 million kids will be eligible, but it remains to be seen how many will ultimately get the vaccines. Less than a third of children ages 5 to 11 have done so since vaccination was opened to them last November.

SpaceX Said to Fire Employees Involved in Letter Rebuking Elon Musk - The New York Times

SpaceX, the private rocket company, on Thursday fired employees who helped write and distribute an open letter criticizing the behavior of its chief executive, Elon Musk, said three employees with knowledge of the situation.
Some SpaceX employees began circulating the letter, which denounced Mr. Musk’s activity on Twitter, on Wednesday. The letter called the billionaire’s public behavior and tweeting “a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment” and asked the company to rein him in. Mr. Musk is currently closing a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter.
By Thursday afternoon, SpaceX had fired some of the letter’s organizers, according to the three employees and an email from Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer. In her email, which was obtained by The New York Times, she said the company had investigated and “terminated a number of employees involved” with the letter.

Warren Buffett charity lunch fetches winning bid of $19 million

A lucky, and likely wealthy, person bid more than $19 million to dine with Warren Buffett, in the 21st and final time that the billionaire businessman auctioned a private lunch to benefit a San Francisco charity.
The winning bid in the eBay auction that ended on Friday night far surpassed the previous record of $4.57 million, paid in 2019 by cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun, although the new winner’s identity could not immediately be determined.

More people are avoiding the news, and trusting it less, report says | Reuters

A growing number of people are selectively avoiding important news stories such as the coronavirus pandemic, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the cost-of-living crisis, according to a report released on Tuesday.
While the majority of people surveyed consume news regularly, 38% said they often or sometimes avoid the news – up from 29% in 2017 – the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism said in its annual Digital News Report. Around 36% – particularly those under 35 – say that the news lowers their mood.
Trust in news is also declining, and is lowest in the United States. On average, 42% of people said they trust most news most of the time; that figure has fallen in almost half the countries in the report and risen in seven.

Japan's NTT to begin remote work as norm for 30,000 employees in July

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. will in July begin remote work as its new norm for around 30,000 of its domestic employees, treating attendance as a business trip and allowing for work and commute from anywhere in Japan, even by air, a source familiar with the matter said Saturday.
The telecom giant will have no limit set for transportation expenses and will pay for accommodations when employees commute to work after the company, like many other firms, has introduced different working styles as part of measures against the coronavirus pandemic, the source said.
The new plan is part of the company's efforts to retain a talented workforce in the face of labor shortages by offering a flexible working environment. Some other Japanese companies are also introducing diversified working styles.

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News Headlines - 17 June 2022

Japan's top court: Govt. not liable for Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident | NHK WORLD

Japan's Supreme Court has ruled that the government was not responsible for the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The ruling handed down on Friday covers four separate damages lawsuits filed by people including those who had to evacuate their homes in Fukushima and three other prefectures. The defendants were the state and the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company... The point of contention was whether the state could have foreseen the risk of a massive tsunami based on this report, and whether the accident could have been avoided if the government had ordered TEPCO to take precautionary measures.
Presiding Justice Kanno Hiroyuki said the earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011 was far more powerful than the government could have expected.

Prosecutors drop case over death of detained Sri Lankan woman | The Asahi Shimbun

Public prosecutors will drop their case against senior officials from the Nagoya Regional Immigration Services Bureau over the death of a Sri Lankan woman at an immigration detention facility, according to sources... The Nagoya District Public Prosecutors Office launched an investigation into whether the senior officials in charge at the time had committed murder or negligence as a guardian resulting in death, responding to criminal complaints against them from Wishma’s family and others.
Sources said the prosecutors office concluded it cannot establish criminal liability in this case following discussions with another prosecution office that is higher in rank.

Shogi legend Habu extends record with 1,500th win - The Japan News

Shogi master Yoshiharu Habu has reached another milestone with his 1,500th victory as a professional, extending his record for most wins in a career... The 51-year-old has a 1,500-654 record, for a .696 winning percentage, to go along with his 99 career titles. He had set the mark for most wins in June 2019, breaking the record of the late Yasuharu Oyama, who went 1,433-781 until his death in 1992.

U.K. may host Eurovision 2023 instead of Ukraine, EU broadcaster says : NPR

It's customary for the country that wins Eurovision to host the international songwriting competition the following year. But the winning country usually isn't defending itself in war at the same time.
That's the case for Ukraine, whose folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra won the contest last month. Frontman Oleh Psiuk told NPR right before the final, as Russia's war continued to devastate the country, that he was confident that a "rebuilt, whole and happy" Ukraine would be able to host Eurovision 2023 if it were to win.
Sadly, a panel of public broadcasters and security experts have reached a different conclusion. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) — which operates Eurovision — announced on Friday that it is not a viable option for Ukraine to host next year's contest.

US Open: Russian and Belarusian players allowed to compete - CNN

Russian and Belarusian players will be allowed to compete at the 2022 US Open, the US Tennis Association (USTA) announced on Tuesday, despite Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The USTA's decision comes after Wimbledon became the first elite tennis event to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes. The men's ATP and women's WTA Tours later stripped the grand slam of its ranking points in response to the move.
Instead of following Wimbledon's lead, the US Open will adopt the approach used by the ATP and the WTA since the invasion where Russian and Belarusian players compete under a neutral flag.

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News Headlines - 16 June 2022

Boundary changes advised for 140 Japan lower house constituencies - The Mainichi

A Japanese government panel advised Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday that boundaries in a record 140 constituencies in 25 prefectures for House of Representatives elections should be revised to address vote weight disparities.
The changes would be the fourth since single-seat constituencies were introduced in 1994, affecting almost half of the country's 289 districts, and would reduce the vote weight disparity in lower house elections from a potentially unconstitutional 2.096-fold difference to a 1.999-fold one.
Japan's top court has found disparities of more than 2.0 problematic, leading the government to work to resolve the potential issue.

Japan posts biggest trade deficit in more than 8 years for May - Nikkei Asia

Japan ran its biggest single-month trade deficit in more than eight years in May as high commodity prices and declines in the yen swelled imports, clouding the country's economic outlook... Imports soared 48.9% in the year to May, Ministry of Finance data showed on Thursday, above a median market forecast for a 43.6% gain in a Reuters poll.
That outpaced a 15.8% year-on-year rise in exports in the same month, resulting in a 2.385 trillion yen ($17.80 billion) trade deficit, the largest shortfall in a single month since January 2014.

Gov't revokes sunken Hokkaido boat operator's license - The Mainichi

Japan's transport ministry on Thursday revoked the license of the operator of a tour boat that sunk off Hokkaido about two months ago leaving 14 people dead and 12 missing, marking the heaviest administrative penalty ever imposed under the maritime transportation law.
An official at the ministry said the 19-ton Kazu I's operator "has repeatedly violated the law and shows no indication for improvement. If we allow it to continue its business, there is a high probability that a serious accident will occur again."
The ministry took the action after confirming that the Shari-based operator Shiretoko Yuransen broke safety rules on 17 occasions. These included its president Seiichi Katsurada not being present at the office while the boat was at sea.

Operator of major Japan restaurant review site ordered to pay damages

A Japanese court on Thursday ordered the operator of Tabelog, a popular restaurant review website, to pay about 38.4 million yen ($286,000) in damages to a Korean barbeque chain, judging that its rating algorithm is unfairly designed for chain outlets.
The Tokyo District Court found that the site operator Kakaku.com Inc. violated the antimonopoly law, saying its algorithm, which uniformly lowered scores of chain restaurants, is considered an "abuse of dominant bargaining position."

China arrests nine men after violent attack on women sparks fury | The Japan Times

China has arrested nine men after video footage of a vicious attack on a group of female diners at a barbecue restaurant sparked outrage and debate on women’s rights on social media.
The attack took place early Friday in the northern city of Tangshan, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. The suspects were arrested Saturday after a search that spanned two provinces. An official in Tangshan vowed to “severely punish” those involved, the report added... The graphic video was widely shared online in China over the weekend, with the attack still trending on the Twitter-like Weibo on Monday morning. Many posters were women sharing their experiences with male aggression.

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News Headlines - 15 June 2022

Anthony Fauci tests positive for COVID-19, experiencing mild symptoms

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the face of the nation's pandemic health response and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday and is currently experiencing mild symptoms.
Fauci, 81, is fully vaccinated and has received two booster shots, according to a statement from the National Institutes of Health. He has not been in close contact with Biden or any other senior government officials recently, the agency said.

Japan to form its own CDC-like body to confront viruses of the future | The Japan Times

The government will create a new agency to manage its response to infectious disease outbreaks and merge two state research institutes to create a Japanese version of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced Wednesday... Duties related to COVID-19 measures are currently divided between the health ministry and the Cabinet Secretariat. Experts have said the lack of a “control tower” to oversee outbreak responses and sectionalism among different ministries have hampered speedy action by the government.
The government will also merge the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, which undertakes basic research on infectious diseases, and the National Center for Global Health and Medicine, tasked with treatment of the diseases, to create a Japanese version of the CDC under the health ministry, Kishida said.

Spain melts under the earliest heat wave in over 40 years | Reuters

A cloud of hot air from North Africa has sent temperatures soaring, AEMET forecasters said, and the suffocating heat wave could last in most of Spain until June 16 or 17, a few days before summer officially starts on June 21.
With temperatures surpassing 40 C (104°F) in parts of central and southern Spain, the current heat wave is the earliest one registered since 1981, according to state meteorological agency AEMET.

BTS announce temporary break, with plans for solo releases before reuniting as group – though label denies it’s a ‘hiatus’ | South China Morning Post

The South Korean superstar group announced shortly after their ninth anniversary that they would be going on hiatus for a temporary break as a band in order for members to focus on their solo careers.
Sharing the news in a live-stream video on Tuesday – the day after the band’s anniversary on Monday – the septet’s members shared the news directly with their fans... However, shortly after the news broke, a representative of Hybe, the South Korean company that manages the band, reportedly issued a statement saying otherwise.
“BTS are not taking a hiatus. Members will be focusing more on solo projects at this time,” the statement said.

Russia unveils 'tasty' McDonald's substitute - BBC News

Fast food giant McDonald's pulled out of Russia in protest at the invasion of Ukraine and sold its restaurants here - more than 800 - to Russian businessman Alexander Govor.
Today the first rebranded restaurants are reopening in Moscow.
There's a new name: "Vkusno i Tochka", which translates as "Tasty and that's it".

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News Headlines - 14 June 2022

1 in 4 singles aged in 30s in Japan unwilling to marry: gov't survey - The Mainichi

One in four singles in their 30s who have never been married in Japan said they have no desire to tie the knot, citing such reasons as concerns over a loss of freedom and associated housework and financial burdens, a government survey showed Tuesday.
The findings of the survey on marriage and income were cited in the government's white paper on gender equality, which also noted that the number of marriages in 2021 dropped to around 514,000, the lowest in the postwar period, on the basis of preliminary data.

Bill to establish children and family agency to become law | NHK WORLD

A bill establishing a new Japanese government agency for children and family affairs is set to become law on Wednesday... The agency will be tasked with things such as combatting child abuse, bullying and poverty, with the aim of ensuring a safe and secure living environment for children.

Hong Kong's famous Jumbo Floating Restaurant towed away after half a century - CNA

Hong Kong's Jumbo Floating Restaurant, a famed but ageing tourist attraction that featured in multiple Cantonese and Hollywood films, was towed out of the city on Tuesday (Jun 14) after years of revitalisation efforts went nowhere.
The buoyant behemoth, which at 76m long could house 2,300 diners, set out shortly before noon from the southern Hong Kong Island typhoon shelter where it has sat for nearly half a century... The lavish restaurant's operators cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for finally closing its doors in March 2020, after around a decade of financial woes.
Restaurant owner Melco International Development announced last month that ahead of its licence expiration in June, Jumbo would leave Hong Kong and await a new operator at an undisclosed location.

Biden signs Asian American Pacific Islander museum commission into law

President Joe Biden signed a law Monday that lays the foundation for a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture... The law creates the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of Asian Pacific American History and Culture Act, which will research and submit a plan that would establish a museum dedicated to the community in Washington, D.C.

British Journalist, Brazilian Expert Found Dead in Amazon Rainforest, Report Says

The bodies of British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, who had been missing for more than a week in Brazil's Amazon rainforest, were found on Monday, news outlet G1 reported on Monday, quoting Phillips' wife.
On Sunday, Brazilian police said search teams had found some of their belongings in a creek off the river where they were last seen a week about. Among them were a health identification card in Pereira's name, a backpack with clothes belonging to Phillips, along with the boots of both men.
Authorities have not yet confirmed that the bodies have been found, G1 said.

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News Headlines - 13 June 2022

Japan 10-year JGB yields breach BOJ's upper limit

Japan's benchmark 10-year bond yields rose to a six-year high on Monday, breaching the Bank of Japan's policy band despite the central bank's aggressive move to cap yields. The benchmark 10-year government bond yields rose 0.5 basis point to 0.255%, the highest level since January 6, 2016 and crossed the top of the BOJ's upper limit of its policy line of 0.25%.

Japan passes revised Penal Code with harsher punishment for cyberbullying - The Mainichi

Japan's Diet passed revisions to the Penal Code on June 13, with a harsher punishment for insults to counter cyberbullying -- two years after a reality show cast member died following online abuse.
The House of Councillors voted on and enacted the revised criminal law during a plenary session on June 13. The revised section on insult charges is expected to come into force this summer. Due to concerns expressed during the Diet deliberation process that tougher laws could curb freedom of expression, the revised law requires examination by an expert panel three years after its enforcement.

Toyota wins 24 Hours of Le Mans for the fifth year in a row | Top Gear

Toyota has taken the chequered flag at the 90th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, sealing the team’s fifth victory in succession after clocking well over 5,000km and 380 laps of Circuit de La Sarthe.
Victory for the team’s #8 car means Brendan Hartley and Sebastien Buemi collected their third and fourth wins at Le Mans respectively, while teammate Ryo Hirakawa tasted success at the world-famous endurance event for the first time.

Sir Mick Jagger tests positive for Covid - BBC News

Sir Mick Jagger has tested positive for Covid-19, prompting The Rolling Stones to cancel a performance in Amsterdam.
The band said the show at the Johan Cruijff Arena would be rescheduled and that they were "deeply sorry"... The band are currently on their Sixty tour, where they had planned to play 14 shows in 10 European countries.

2022 FIFA World Cup predictions, picking every game: USMNT reach knockouts in Qatar; Brazil conquer all - CBSSports.com

The biggest tournament in football is in sight. There are still two more spots at the World Cup to be decided, but with scarcely more than five months to go until Senegal and the Netherlands get the tournament underway in Doha, it's time to unleash the wall charts (full schedule here) and pencil in what we're expecting to happen in Qatar.

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News Headlines - 12 June 2022

Residents of Fukushima village allowed to move back in after 11 years - The Mainichi

Residents from part of Katsurao village in Fukushima Prefecture can move back into their homes again more than a decade on from the March 2011 nuclear disaster, after evacuation orders were lifted Sunday morning.
It is the first time restrictions have been removed to allow residents to live again in part of the "difficult-to-return" zone once expected to stay closed far into the future due to high radiation exposure.

North Korea appoints its first female foreign minister - Hindustan Times

North Korea has named a top nuclear negotiator as the nation's first female Foreign Minister, state media reported Saturday. This comes amid warnings from the US that Pyongyang is preparing to conduct a nuclear test.
Career diplomat Choe Son Hui was appointed at a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea from June 8-10, overseen by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, CNN reported citing state-run outlet KCNA.

Russia-China Highway Bridge Opens to Traffic - The Moscow Times

The first vehicle bridge between Russia and China opened to freight traffic Friday as Moscow pivots to Beijing amid the crisis in relations with the West over its invasion of Ukraine.
Most building work on the Blagoveshchensk-Heihe bridge across the Amur River was completed in late 2019... Friday’s opening ceremony showed freight trucks crossing the kilometer-long bridge as white, blue and red fireworks in the colors of the Russian flag erupted in the background.

Finland to build fences on border with Russia | Al Arabiya English

Shaken by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Finland is rushing to beef up security on its border with Russia in order to protect itself from hybrid threats, the interior ministry said Friday.
Fearing that Moscow could use migrants to exert political pressure, Helsinki plans legislative amendments that would facilitate the construction of sturdier fences on its 1,300-kilometer (800-mile) eastern border with Russia... Currently, the Nordic country’s borders are secured primarily with light wooden fences, used to stop livestock from wandering to the wrong side.
Crossing the border from places other than through official border crossing points is already prohibited.

Nicaragua gives permission for Russian troops to enter country - CBS News

The government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has authorized Russian troops, planes and ships to deploy to Nicaragua for purposes of training, law enforcement or emergency response.
In a decree published this week, and confirmed by Russia on Thursday, Ortega will allow Russian troops to carry out law enforcement duties, "humanitarian aid, rescue and search missions in emergencies or natural disasters."
The Nicaraguan government also authorized the presence of small contingents of Russian troops for "exchange of experiences and training."

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News Headlines - 11 June 2022

Japan ruling lawmaker quits party over allegations of drinking with teen - The Mainichi

A House of Representatives member from a ruling party faction led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida quit the party Friday over a magazine report that he went out for drinks with an 18-year-old girl and gave her 40,000 yen ($300), party sources said.
The drinking age in Japan is 20, and the latest revelation involving third-term lawmaker Takeru Yoshikawa comes at a delicate time for Kishida and the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito ahead of a House of Councillors election in July.

Sushi chain Sushiro ordered to take action on deceptive advertising - The Japan News

Akindo Sushiro advertised via TV commercials and online that it would offer sushi dishes using urchin and crab, winter delicacies in Japan, for ¥858 per dish including tax for 17 days from the end of November last year, according to the agency citing the results of a Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) investigation.
In reality, however, over 90% of the Sushiro restaurants could not provide the dishes all day for at least one day due to a lack of stock. One restaurant was unable to provide the dishes from the first day of the campaign.

UN calls for accountability after WHO worker killed in Myanmar | Al Jazeera

The United Nations has condemned the fatal shooting of a World Health Organization (WHO) employee in eastern Myanmar, the latest death in a series of killings since the military government took over last year.
The UN and the WHO said Myo Min Htut, a WHO driver for five years, was shot dead on Wednesday while riding his motorcycle in Mawlamyine in Mon State, close to Thailand, in unclear circumstances.

Cat-to-human Covid link found in Thailand

A veterinarian in southern Thailand likely contracted the coronavirus from an infected pet cat last year, researchers concluded in a new study. It is the first documented case of suspected cat-to-human transmission, although experts stress that the risk of cats infecting humans with the virus remains low overall.
One of the cat’s two owners, who both had Covid-19, probably passed the virus to the cat, which then sneezed in the veterinarian’s face, according to a research paper written by scientists at Prince of Songkla University. Genomic sequencing confirmed that the cat and all three people were infected with an identical version of the virus, which was not widespread in the local population at the time.
Cats are far more likely to catch the virus from people than to transmit it to them, scientists say.

Business Losses From Russia Top $59 Billion as Sanctions Hit - WSJ

Global companies have racked up more than $59 billion in losses from their Russian operations, with more financial pain to come as sanctions hit the economy and sales and shutdowns continue, according to a review of public statements and securities filings.
Almost 1,000 Western businesses have pledged to exit or cut back operations in Russia, following its invasion of Ukraine, according to Yale researchers.

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News Headlines - 10 June 2022

Kishida: Japan to 'fundamentally' strengthen defense in 5 years - Nikkei Asia

Japan will "fundamentally reinforce Japan's defense capabilities within the next five years," Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed in Singapore on Friday, delivering a keynote address to open the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit... Kishida also promised to provide maritime aid to Indo-Pacific countries -- at least $2 billion over the next three years for maritime security equipment, including patrol vessels, and to support maritime transportation infrastructure... The groundwork for a defense buildup was laid on Tuesday, when the Japanese cabinet approved the first annual economic policy road map since Kishida took office last year. The blueprint for next fiscal year's budget said Japan aims to drastically increase its defense outlays over the next five years, without specifying exactly by how much.
The road map did refer to the defense spending commitment made by NATO members -- 2% of gross domestic product. Japan currently spends close to 1% of its GDP.

Forty-five percent of Americans support nuclear power energy plants | Ipsos

A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll finds two in five Americans say they are familiar with nuclear power energy plants (43%). They claim similar levels of familiarity with solar power plants (44%) and wind power plants (45%). Forty-five percent of Americans say they support nuclear power energy plants, with coal-fired plants (36%) and gas-fired plants (41%) garnering less support.
Half of Americans believe currently operating nuclear plants should be maintained/kept open but no new plants should be built, only 20% say all current nuclear power plants should be shut down and no new plants should be built. Even among those who say they oppose relying on nuclear power plants for electricity, 56% are okay with keeping currently operating plants open and just not building new ones.

World Bank warns of recession and stagflation | Fortune

Global economic growth is expected to slow down before the end of the year, and most countries should begin preparing for a recession, according to the World Bank’s latest global economic forecast released on Tuesday... The rate of global growth is expected to slow from 5.7% in 2021 to 2.9% this year, according to the report. The World Bank, which acts as an international lending body for developing economies, had forecasted 4.1% growth for 2022 last January.

Latin America, Caribbean 2022 poverty seen higher as Ukraine war bites -UN study | Reuters

A United Nations commission has increased its projection for poverty in Latin America and Caribbean for 2022, citing economic disruptions caused by the conflict in Ukraine.
Latin America and Dominican Republic poverty will rise to 33% of the population this year, a 0.9 percentage point uptick versus 2021. Extreme poverty is seen reaching 14.5% this year, 0.7 percentage point more than in 2021, according to a study published by the UN's Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Cepal).
Higher fuel prices, and fertilizer and wheat supply problems provoked by the war in Ukraine have fanned inflation while intensifying hunger, casting doubts about the region's growth prospects, the U.N. agency said.

Naoya Inoue bolsters pound-for-pound case with knockout of Nonito Donaire | The Guardian

Naoya Inoue, the unbeaten three-division champion from Japan known as the Monster, lived up to his reputation as one of boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighters with a sensational second-round knockout of Nonito Donaire in their bantamweight title unification fight on Tuesday night at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

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News Headlines - 09 June 2022

No-confidence motions against Kishida Cabinet, Hosoda defeated | The Asahi Shimbun

The Lower House on June 9 overwhelmingly defeated no-confidence motions submitted by the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan against both the Cabinet of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Lower House Speaker Hiroyuki Hosoda.
In addition to the overwhelming majority enjoyed in the chamber by the ruling coalition, the opposition Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) and Democratic Party for the People also voted against the motion regarding the Kishida Cabinet.

Skylark to pay over 1.5 billion yen to short-changed workers | The Asahi Shimbun

Skylark Group said it will pay part-time workers to the minute worked rather than rounding down the time to five-minute increments starting from July 1, in addition to compensating those short-changed in the past... The company also said it will pay about 90,000 such workers for their rounded-down and unpaid work times in the past two years.
The payment will total about 1.6 billion to 1.7 billion yen ($12 million-$12.7 million) for their past work, it said.

UK Permits New Drilling for Gas in Countryside South of London - Bloomberg

The UK has given permission for new drilling in the countryside south of London to establish the size of a natural gas field, as the government seeks to boost domestic energy production due to price volatility amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.
UK Oil & Gas Plc will be allowed to drill at the site at Loxley, according to a ruling on Tuesday. The local Surrey County Council had twice blocked the project, which the company has been pushing for since 2020.

HS2: Government scraps plans for £3bn West Coast Main Line link - BBC News

The government has scrapped plans to build a new £3bn rail link between HS2 and the West Coast Main Line.
The 13-mile (21km) Golborne Link in Cheshire and Greater Manchester will not be built despite its earlier inclusion in the Integrated Rail Plan for improving the Midlands and North.
The Railway Industry Association, Rail Freight Group and High Speed Rail Group fear a "bottleneck" will be the result.

Kyiv theater reopens, plays sell out: `You continue living' | AP News

A theater in Ukraine’s capital reopened over the weekend for the first time since Russian forces invaded the country, and tickets quickly sold out.
Theater on Podil was the latest cultural institution in Kyiv to resume operations. Movie theaters and the National Opera opened their doors at the end of May.

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News Headlines - 08 June 2022

Japanese man wanted over COVID subsidy fraud arrested in Indonesia - The Mainichi

A 47-year-old Japanese man wanted by Tokyo police on suspicion of fraudulently receiving government COVID-19 subsidies along with his family members has been arrested in Indonesia, immigration authorities said Wednesday.
Mitsuhiro Taniguchi is suspected of defrauding the government of more than 960 million yen ($7.22 million) using a subsidy program for smaller firms reeling from the pandemic. Taniguchi's whereabouts were unknown after leaving Japan for Indonesia in October 2020.
He was arrested Tuesday night in the village of Sri Dadi in Lampung Province after Japan revoked his passport, according to I Nyoman Gede Surya Mataram, a senior official at the Directorate General of Immigration.

Chinese man arrested for alleged Hitotsubashi University exam cheating | The Japan Times

A Chinese man in his 20s was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of cheating on Hitotsubashi University’s entrance exam by leaking a test question through social media and soliciting an answer, investigative sources said.
Police in Tokyo are also questioning several other Chinese nationals for their alleged involvement in the cheating during the exam held on Jan. 31 for international applicants, the sources said.

Diet speaker suspected of bribing local officials in 2021 election - The Mainichi

House of Representatives Speaker Hiroyuki Hosoda's camp paid several thousand yen per day in cash to local assembly members and others in western Japan during campaigning for last October's lower house election, documents showed Wednesday, in a suspected case of bribery in violation of the election law.

Nobuyuki Idei, former chief executive of Sony Corp., dies at 84 | The Asahi Shimbun

Nobuyuki Idei, a former president and CEO of Sony Corp. who led the electronic giant’s push into the digital age, died at 84 on June 2... Under his watch, Sony rolled out the VAIO personal computer, among other hit products.
Idei, a native of Tokyo, joined Sony Corp. in 1960 after graduating from Waseda University with a degree in political science.
He became Sony’s sixth president and the first employee to climb to the top position in the company co-founded by Masaru Ibuka and Aiko Morita... In addition to marketing VAIO, he expanded the company’s online and entertainment businesses.

Twitter to provide spam data to Elon Musk as part of deal - The Washington Post

After a weeks-long impasse, Twitter’s board plans to comply with Elon Musk’s demands for internal data by offering access to its full “firehose,” the massive stream of data comprising more than 500 million tweets posted each day, according to a person familiar with the company’s thinking, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the state of negotiations.
The move aims to end a standoff with the billionaire, who has threatened to pull out of his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter unless the company provides access to data he says is necessary to evaluate the number of fake users on the platform.
The information could be provided as soon as this week, the person said. Currently some two dozen companies pay for access to the trove, which comprises not only a real-time record of tweets but the devices they tweet from, as well as information about the accounts that tweet.

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News Headlines - 07 June 2022

Gov't asks companies, households across Japan to save power - The Mainichi

The government said Tuesday it will ask companies and households across Japan to save electricity due to a possible power crunch in the summer and winter.
It will be the first time since fiscal 2015 that the government has filed such a request on a nationwide scale... While most of the nuclear power plants in the country remain offline under stricter safety regulations imposed since the Fukushima nuclear accident, an increasing number of thermal power plants have been closed down due to aging.
Such developments have led to a reduction in Japan's overall electricity supply capabilities.

BOJ's Kuroda apologizes for saying households accept price rises - Nikkei Asia

Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda on Tuesday apologized for saying that households are becoming more accepting of price rises, during a lecture held on Monday... Kuroda made his initial remark at a lecture held by Kyodo News in Tokyo on Monday, which drew criticism on social media. He later clarified, saying, "I did not intend to say that households are accepting price rises of their own accord, but that they are accepting them as a hard choice," and added, "I think it was not appropriate to use such expressions that could cause misunderstanding".

Straw dolls with pictures resembling Putin nailed on trees at several shrines in east Japan - The Mainichi

Straw dolls with a picture resembling Russian President Vladimir Putin attached to the head were found nailed to sacred trees and other trees in multiple shrines in the east Japan city of Matsudo between mid- and late May.
The dolls found at shrines in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, appear to be effigies to express criticism against the Russian president amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Cambodia's ruling party wins local elections by landslide - The Mainichi

Cambodia's ruling party of Prime Minister Hun Sen won Sunday's local elections by a landslide.
Sok Eysan, a spokesman of the Cambodian People's Party told Kyodo News that preliminary results suggested the CPP had obtained nearly 100 percent of all the seats in 1,652 communes across the country.

Musk threatens to walk away from Twitter deal | AP News

Elon Musk is threatening to walk away from his $44 billion bid to buy Twitter, accusing the company of refusing to give him information about its spam bot and fake accounts.
Lawyers for the Tesla and SpaceX CEO made the threat in a letter to Twitter dated Monday that the company disclosed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The lawyers wrote that Musk has repeatedly asked for the information since May 9, about a month after his offer to buy the company, so he could evaluate how many of the company’s 229 million accounts are fake.

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News Headlines - 06 June 2022

China secretly building PLA naval facility in Cambodia - The Washington Post

China is secretly building a naval facility in Cambodia for the exclusive use of its military, with both countries denying that is the case and taking extraordinary measures to conceal the operation, Western officials said.
The military presence will be on the northern portion of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base on the Gulf of Thailand, which is slated to be the site of a groundbreaking ceremony this week, according to the officials, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity.
The establishment of a Chinese naval base in Cambodia — only its second such overseas outpost and its first in the strategically significant Indo-Pacific region — is part of Beijing’s strategy to build a network of military facilities around the world in support of its aspirations to become a true global power, the officials said.

Amazon to pull Kindle out of China, other businesses to remain | Reuters

Amazon.com said it will stop supplying retailers in China with its Kindle e-readers from Thursday and will shut its Kindle e-bookstore there next year, in the latest pullback by a U.S. tech firm from the restrictive Chinese market... The Kindle China e-bookstore will stop selling ebooks from June 30 next year, it said, though customers will be able to continue downloading any purchased books for a year beyond that.
It will also remove the Kindle app from Chinese app stores in 2024, it added.
The company said the closure of Kindle's China business was not due to government pressure or censorship.

Monetary tightening not 'suitable' at all: Bank of Japan chief Kuroda - The Mainichi

Monetary tightening is not a "suitable" measure at all for the Bank of Japan as the domestic economy is still in the midst of a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic while higher commodity prices are adding downward pressure, Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said Monday.
Even though core consumer inflation jumped 2.1 percent in April from a year earlier, it does not mean the BOJ's 2 percent inflation target has been achieved, Kuroda said, stressing that the central bank will not waver in its aggressive monetary easing to support the economy and ensure more robust wage growth... As inflation expectations have been rising recently and consumers have become more tolerant of price hikes, the BOJ will use its monetary easing to achieve "sustained" inflation, or an inflation rate of 2 percent on average, Kuroda said.

Toyota eyes liquid hydrogen move after Fuji 24 Hours finish

Sharing driving duties aboard the hydrogen Corolla were Toyota president Akio Toyota (competing as 'Morizo'), SUPER GT racer Hiroaki Ishiura, Masahiro Sasaki, Yasuhiro Ogura and two late additions to the Rookie Racing squad, Toyota WRC boss Jari-Matti Latvala and domestic rallying star Norihiko Katsuta... Toyota also revealed plans to switch from using compressed hydrogen gas to liquid hydrogen for future Super Taikyu races, a move that would approximately double the Corolla's range, while the hydrogen refuelling station (pictured here in the Suzuka season opener) would be reduced to a quarter of the size.
However, this would involve the logistical challenge of hydrogen having to be stored at approximately -253 degrees Celsius.

Amino acids found in asteroid samples collected by Hayabusa2 probe - The Mainichi

More than 20 types of amino acids have been detected in samples Japan's Hayabusa2 space probe brought to Earth from an asteroid in late 2020, a government official said Monday, showing for the first time the organic compounds exist on asteroids in space.
With amino acids essential for all living things to make proteins, the discovery could hold clues to understanding the origins of life, the education ministry said.

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News Headlines - 05 June 2022

North Korea launches 8 short-range ballistic missiles off east coast, South Korea says - CNN

North Korea fired eight short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) into the waters off its east coast on Sunday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, a move that Japan has called "unprecedented."
The missiles were launched from multiple sites in North Korea into waters east of the Korean peninsula between 9:08 a.m. and 9:43 a.m. local time in Seoul on Sunday, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The missiles mark the 17th launch by North Korea this year. The last, on May 25, came just as US President Joe Biden had concluded his trip to Asia and was returning back to the United States.

Police arrest tax official suspected of COVID-19 subsidy fraud | The Asahi Shimbun

Tokyo police arrested a tax official suspected of being involved in a major case of pandemic subsidy fraud, the latest in a series of related arrests of a group investing in cryptocurrency.
The Metropolitan Police Department announced the arrest of an employee of the National Tax Agency’s Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau on June 2 for allegedly misappropriating public funds.

Mazda touts ‘road map’ for decarbonizing its factories by 2035 | The Asahi Shimbun

Mazda Motor Co. announced on June 2 that it will make its factories at home and abroad carbon neutral by 2035, part of a larger plan to slash emissions from its vehicle-production operations.
The company said it is committing to making its entire automobile supply chain go carbon neutral by 2050.
Mazda said it will achieve this through renewable energy and biofuels, along with conserving energy in the manufacturing process.

West Ham footballer Kurt Zouma ordered to do community service over cat abuse | The Guardian

The Premier League footballer Kurt Zouma has been ordered to carry out 180 hours of community service and banned from keeping cats for five years for kicking and slapping his cat.
The 27-year-old West Ham and France defender prompted widespread condemnation after footage filmed by his brother Yoan Zouma, emerged of Zouma volleying the pet across his kitchen, before throwing a pair of shoes at it and slapping its head.

Newly released doctor’s letters show Adolf Hitler’s fear of illness | The Guardian

The Swiss descendant of one of Adolf Hitler’s doctors has released details of letters that show how he treated the Nazi dictator for voice problems, the newspaper NZZ am Sonntag reported on Sunday.
The letters show Hitler’s fear of serious illness. “If there is something bad, I absolutely have to know,” Hitler told the doctor after their first consultation in May 1935, according to the letters.
Hitler was treated several times by Carl Otto von Eicken, a German ear, nose and throat specialist, for 10 years from 1935, the newspaper said.

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News Headlines - 04 June 2022

Japan logs record low 811,000 newborns in 2021 - The Mainichi

The number of babies born in Japan fell to a record low of 811,604 in 2021, declining faster than the government anticipated, according to data released Friday.The decline of 29,231 from the previous year means the country's annual newborns have already fallen to the level that the government's 2017 study forecast for 2027.

Japan ex-minister's 'world beauties' photo collection on his website draws fire - The Mainichi

Former economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura has come under fire for posting a photo collection of women overseas on his official website for over 10 years, under the title "Picture book of beauties from around the world."
The photo gallery posted by Nishimura, 59, a House of Representatives member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), has become a hot topic on social media, sparking criticism such as "It's gross."

Spatial Disorientation Cited as Possible Cause of F-15 Crash in Japan - JIJI PRESS

Japan's Air Self-Defense Force said Thursday that spatial disorientation likely caused the crash of an ASDF fighter jet in January that left two pilots onboard dead.
The F-15 fighter crashed into the Sea of Japan on Jan. 31 shortly after taking off from the ASDF Komatsu Air Base in the central prefecture of Ishikawa... Spatial disorientation is a condition in which pilots become unable to determine the direction and position of their aircraft while in the air.

Bavaria train crash: At least four killed in German rail accident - BBC News

At least four people were killed and about 30 injured when a train derailed in Germany's south-eastern state of Bavaria, police say.
The train, which was carrying many students, was heading to Munich when three carriages came off the tracks near Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Huge Mayan Corn God's Head Dating Back 1,300 Years Discovered in Mexico

A Mayan corn god's head has been unearthed by archaeologists in Mexico who found it at the bottom of a pond that was regarded by the ancients as symbolizing the entrance to the underworld.
The large, well-preserved head - dating back over 1,300 years - was placed there to signify an aquatic theme around the entrance to the world below.
The stone sculpture was discovered during conservation work in the Mayan city of Palenque, near the Usumacinta River in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.

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News Headlines - 03 June 2022

Sukiya to end its single-staff morning shifts after worker dies | The Asahi Shimbun

The Japanese beef bowl chain Sukiya Co. is vowing to improve working conditions after it revealed that an employee who collapsed while working alone on an early January morning had died from a heart attack.
It took more than three hours until the part-time worker in her 50s was found by her colleague after she collapsed, according to Zensho Holdings Co., which operates Sukiya... Sukiya announced on June 1 that it will abandon single-staff morning shifts by the end of this month, in addition to previous steps it had taken to remove single-staffer overnight shifts.

Toshiba receives 10 investment proposals including 8 to go private | The Asahi Shimbun

Toshiba Corp. said on Thursday it has received 10 investment proposals including 8 proposals to go private as the troubled Japanese conglomerate explores strategic options.
The other two proposals were for capital and business alliances in which Toshiba would remain listed.
Toshiba, which has been bedevilled by accounting and governance crises since 2015, set up a special committee in April to solicit proposals after shareholders voted down a management-backed restructuring plan.

Japan prefecture OKs restart of Fukushima-type reactor

Shimane Prefecture in western Japan approved Thursday a plan to restart a nuclear reactor of the same type as those that suffered meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant following the massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The green light for the No. 2 unit at Chugoku Electric Power Co.'s Shimane nuclear plant in the prefectural capital of Matsue was announced by Gov. Tatsuya Maruyama in a prefectural assembly session.
The company is seeking to restart the reactor in 2023 at the earliest. Inactive since 2012, it will likely be the country's first boiling water reactor to be restarted since the Fukushima disaster.

Sudan's top general lifts state of emergency from coup | AP News

Sudan’s leading general lifted a state of emergency Sunday that was imposed in the country following the October coup he led.
The decision by Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of Sudan’s ruling sovereign council, came hours after the Security and Defense Council, Sudan’s highest body that decides on security matters, recommended an end to the state of emergency and the release of all detainees.
The recommendations are meant to facilitate dialogue between the military and the pro-democracy movement, the defense minister, Maj. Gen. Yassin Ibrahim Yassin, said in a video statement.

Rolling Stones kick off 60th anniversary European tour in Madrid | Reuters

The Rolling Stones rocked Madrid on Wednesday with gusto, and a bit of nostalgia for their late drummer Charlie Watts, as they kicked off a European tour marking their 60th anniversary as a band.
Some 53,000 fans at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium roared with excitement as they welcomed to the stage the original band members Mick Jagger, 78, and guitarists Keith Richards, 78, and Ronnie Wood, who turned 75 on Wednesday.
They have been joined by drummer Steve Jordan for the tour, titled SIXTY. Watts, who joined the band in 1963, died last year aged 80.

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News Headlines - 02 June 2022

Putin Treated for Cancer in April, U.S. Intelligence Report Says

Vladimir Putin's health is a subject of intense conversation inside the Biden administration after the intelligence community produced its fourth comprehensive assessment at the end of May. The classified U.S. report says Putin seems to have re-emerged after undergoing treatment in April for advanced cancer, three U.S. intelligence leaders who have read the reports tell Newsweek.
The assessments also confirm that there was an assassination attempt on Putin's life in March, the officials say.

South Korea’s ruling party cements presidential win with local vote success | The Asahi Shimbun

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s ruling party emerged victorious in local elections, vote counts showed on Thursday, giving a boost to him and his plan to steer the economy into recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic... Yoon’s People Power Party (PPP) cemented its power in important regions in what was seen as an early test of the president who took office last month after winning a March election by a margin of just 0.7%.

Scandal-hit Nihon Univ. to appoint author Mariko Hayashi as chairwoman - The Mainichi

Tokyo's Nihon University plans to appoint award-winning author Mariko Hayashi to head its board in an effort to revamp its leadership after a series of scandals involving a former board chairman, sources close to the matter said Thursday.
If approval is granted at a board meeting Friday, Hayashi, 68, a graduate of the school who is scheduled to take up the post July 1, would be the first female chair of the board at the university, one of Japan's largest.

Israel signs first Arab free trade agreement with UAE | Al Jazeera

Israel has signed a free trade agreement with the United Arab Emirates, its first big trade accord with an Arab state and a move aimed at boosting trade between the two Middle Eastern nations.
The pact was signed in Dubai by Israel’s Minister of Economy and Industry Orna Barbivai and her counterpart, UAE Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq al-Marri, on Tuesday after months of negotiations.

Colombia elections 2022: Presidential vote headed for a runoff - CNN

Colombia's presidential election appears destined for a runoff, after preliminary results on Sunday showed no candidate had garnered over 50% of the votes.
With 98% of the votes counted, early results showed left-wing candidate Gustavo Petro with just over 40% of the votes, the populist former mayor of Bucaramanga Rodolfo Hernandez with 28%, and right-wing candidate Federico "Fico" Gutierrez with 23%.
Petro and Hernandez are now expected to face each other during a second round of voting on June 19th.

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News Headlines - 01 June 2022

Passengers' families allowed to see tour boat that sank off Shiretoko | NHK WORLD

The "KAZU I", carrying 26 people, sank off the Shiretoko Peninsula in eastern Hokkaido on April 23. Fourteen of them have been confirmed dead and the remaining 12 are still missing.
The boat was salvaged and brought to Abashiri Port in the prefecture... In the afternoon, 27 people from nine families were allowed to see the boat.
Coast guard officials say the family members laid flowers at an altar set up near the boat, and some of them shed tears.

Mother arrested following 3-year-old daughter’s death | The Asahi Shimbun

Saitama prefectural police on May 31 arrested a woman on charges of neglecting her 3-year-old daughter in late 2021 before she died from injuries to her brain... Police believe the girl was abused and will investigate the case further.
According to investigative sources, Nagano colluded with her 37-year-old then boyfriend whom she lived with, around the period from mid-December to late December 2021 and did not let the girl see a doctor even though she knew that she had suffered a fracture of her upper leg and could not walk.

Microchipping dogs, cats mandatory in Japan as of June | The Asahi Shimbun

Pet sellers in Japan are now required to implant electronic microchips in dogs and cats as a revision to a law on animal welfare and management took effect on June 1... The cylindrical chip is about 10 millimeters long and 2 mm in diameter. It is generally implanted near the necks of dogs and cats by using a syringe-like device.
The chip contains a 15-digit ID that can be scanned using special devices and checked against a database the Environment Ministry will maintain to identify the owner’s information.
Veterinarians or veterinary nurses implant the microchips. The cost is from 3,000 yen ($23.18) to 10,000 yen.

Shanghai starts coming back to life as COVID lockdown eases - The Mainichi

Traffic, pedestrians and joggers reappeared on the streets of Shanghai on Wednesday as China's largest city began returning to normalcy after a strict two-month COVID-19 lockdown that drew unusual protests over its heavy-handed implementation.
Shanghai's Communist Party committee, the city's most powerful political body, issued a letter online proclaiming the lockdown's success and thanking citizens for their "support and contributions." That came amid a steady rollback in compulsory measures that have upended daily life for millions while severely disrupting the economy and global supply chains. Government officials in recent days appeared ready to accelerate the gradual easing of restrictions.

Joe Biden Thanks BTS After K-Pop Group's White House Visit - Rolling Stone

President Joe Biden thanked BTS for visiting the White House yesterday, May 31, for a special meeting and press briefing to mark Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month.
In a short video shared on Twitter, the president and the pop stars discussed the rise of hate crimes and discrimination against Asians and Asian-Americans.

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News Headlines - 31 May 2022

Suntory offered free alcohol at hotel receptions for Abe loyalists | The Asahi Shimbun

Major beverage maker Suntory Holdings Ltd. offered free alcoholic drinks at hotel receptions for Shinzo Abe’s constituents when he was prime minister--possibly breaching the law governing political contributions from businesses, according to an expert.
The revelation comes from a review of court records and statements from closed criminal cases, as well as from an inquiry posed to the company by The Asahi Shimbun.

Court rules against restarting nuclear power plant in Hokkaido - The Mainichi

A Japanese court on Tuesday ordered a nuclear power plant in Hokkaido to remain offline as requested by over 1,000 plaintiffs due to safety concerns, in a rare decision issued while the operator is seeking permission from authorities to restart the plant.
The Sapporo District Court ruled that Hokkaido Electric Power Co. should not resume operation of all three reactors at its Tomari nuclear plant in northern Japan in the suit filed in November 2011. It marks the third district court ruling for a nuclear plant to be suspended.

Former Japanese Red Army member attends Beirut ceremony | The Asahi Shimbun

The sole surviving Japanese Red Army member involved in a deadly attack on a Tel Aviv airport a half century ago joined a memorial ceremony at a cemetery for Palestinians in Beirut.
Kozo Okamoto, 74, took part in the May 30 ceremony while surrounded by his Palestinian supporters... Okamoto and two other members of the Japanese Red Army carried out the attack on Lod Airport on May 30, 1972, killing 26 people and injuring scores of others.
The two other members, Tsuyoshi Okudaira and Yasuyuki Yasuda, died in the attack and are buried in the same cemetery in Beirut. Okamoto placed flowers and prayed before their graves.

US Frontier supercomputer defeats Fugaku to best Top500 • The Register

The land of the rising sun has fallen to the United States’ supercomputing might. Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) newly minted Frontier supercomputer has ousted Japan’s Arm-based Fugaku for the top spot on the Top500 rankings of the world's most-powerful publicly known systems.
Frontier’s lead over Japan’s A64X-based Fujitsu machine is by no means a narrow one either. The cluster achieved peak performance of 1.1 exaflops according to the Linpack benchmark, which has been the standard by which supercomputers have been ranked since the mid-1990s.
Frontier marks the first publicly benchmarked exascale computer by quite a margin. The ORNL system is well ahead of Fugaku’s 442 petaflops of performance, which was a strong enough showing to keep Fugaku in the top spot for two years.

Canada introduces law to freeze handgun sales, ban look-alike toys | Reuters

Canada's government introduced legislation Monday to implement a "national freeze" on the sale and purchase of handguns as part of a gun control package that would also limit magazine capacities and ban some toys that look like guns.
The new legislation, which resurrects some measures that were shelved last year amid a national election, comes just a week after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers in their classroom in Uvalde, Texas... The handgun freeze would contain exceptions, including for elite sport shooters, Olympic athletes and security guards. Canadians who already own handguns would be allowed to keep them.

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News Headlines - 30 May 2022

Tokyo police arrest 3 for COVID subsidy fraud | NHK WORLD

Tokyo police have arrested a 45-year-old company executive and her two sons on suspicion of abusing a coronavirus-related government subsidy program... Investigators suspect the three fraudulently claimed a total of at least 900 million yen, or about 7 million dollars... The police say they applied for subsidies in 2020 with a false statement that revenues of three associates had dropped sharply amid the pandemic.
They allegedly received about 23,000 dollars through the program.

Nagasaki city ordered to pay reporter over sexual assault by official

The Nagasaki city government was ordered by a court Monday to pay around 19.75 million yen ($155,000) in compensation to a female journalist who was sexually assaulted by a male senior official in 2007 and suffered additional harm as a result of falsehoods spread by another official.
The plaintiff's side had demanded that the southwestern Japan city pay around 74 million yen in the suit filed at the Nagasaki District Court in 2019, arguing the now-deceased official misused his position and exercised authority to assault the reporter, and the city also failed to prevent additional harm.

Cash crisis amid China’s stalling economy: rural banks freeze accounts, regulators playing ‘pass the parcel’ | South China Morning Post

The cash crisis emerging at four rural banks in the central Chinese province of Henan is every saver’s worst nightmare.
Deposits at Yuzhou Xinminsheng Village Bank, Shangcai Huimin County Bank, Zhecheng Huanghuai Community Bank and New Oriental Country Bank of Kaifeng have been frozen since April 18, sparking a number of protests in the provincial capital of Zhengzhou.
Pictures and videos of protesters in front of the Henan branch of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) last week in Zhengzhou have been circulating online, with banners demanding “return our money”.

China, Pacific islands unable to reach consensus on regional pact | Reuters

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday urged the Pacific region not to be "too anxious" about his country's aims after a meeting with his counterparts from 10 island nations deferred consideration of a sweeping trade and security communique... A draft communique and five-year action plan sent by China to the invited nations ahead of the meeting showed China was seeking a sweeping regional trade and security agreement.
But the draft communique, first reported by Reuters, prompted opposition from at least one of the invited nations, Federated States of Micronesia, according to a letter leaked last week. Other nations wanted it amended or a decision delayed, an official from one Pacific country told Reuters before the meeting... After the meeting, which included Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Niue and Vanuatu, Wang said further discussions were needed to shape more consensus.

103-year-old Swedish woman sets record for world's oldest parachuter | Euronews

The Swedish daredevil has set the world record for the oldest person to complete a tandem parachute jump.
Larsson completed her jump harnessed to parachutist Joackim Johansson in Motala, Sweden... Larsson, who is 103 years and 259 days old, beat the previous record of 103 years and 181 days

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News Headlines - 29 May 2022

North Korea says pandemic situation being controlled and is improving | The Straits Times

The pandemic situation in North Korea is being controlled and is improving, state media Korean Central News Agency reported on Sunday (May 29), citing a meeting overseen by leader Kim Jong Un.
Officials reported the latest number of daily "fever" cases rose by 980. More than 89,500 cases were recorded for the 24 hours ending May 28 at 6pm (5pm Singapore time) KCNA said.
The country has reported a total of 3.44 million infections since the end of April, with 94 per cent of them having recovered, according to the report.

Japan to slowly resume accepting foreign tourists from June 10

Japan will begin accepting foreign tourists in stages starting June 10, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday, as the country continues to ease its COVID-19 border controls after suspending inbound traveler entries for around two years.
The government will initially limit eligible tourism arrivals to guided tours as a means to reduce the potential spread of infections, and will authorize two more airports in addition to five already approved to accept international flights... While the government is poised to double the current cap on daily entries to 20,000 from next Wednesday, it will likely take time to again see the large numbers of foreign visitors seen as a key pillar to Japan's economic growth.

5 Republican candidates for Michigan governor barred from ballot over invalid signatures - CBS News

Two of the top GOP contenders for Michigan governor, Perry Johnson and James Craig, were barred from the ballot, along with three minor candidates, because they fell short of the required number of valid signatures on their nominating petitions. Thousands of their signatures were declared to be fraudulent by the Michigan Bureau of Elections, bringing these candidates below the 15,000-signature threshold necessary to compete in the primary.

Ed tech wrongfully tracked school children during pandemic: Human Rights Watch | ZDNet

Globally, students who were required to use government-endorsed education technology (ed tech) during the COVID-19 pandemic had their contact, keystroke, and location data collected and sold to ad tech companies, according to the Human Rights Watch (HRW).
A total of 146 of 164 government-endorsed ed tech products endangered the privacy of children, with 199 third-party companies receiving personal data, the HRW said.
Further, only 35 endorsed vendors disclosed that user data would be collected for behavioural advertising, whilst a total of 23 products were developed with children as primary users in mind.

Palm Dog celebrates Ukraine landmine-sniffer at Cannes

It's the only award that mutt-ers in Cannes, and in a year when war was a constant backdrop to the festival, even the canine-loving Palm Dog award paid tribute to Ukrainians.
The Palm Dog, which rewards the best pooch performances at the Cannes Film Festival, celebrated its 21st year on Friday in typically dog-eared style.
"This is the foremost and paw-most celebration of dogs on the big screen," said presenter Toby Rose, who helped found the award back in 2001.

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News Headlines - 28 May 2022

Cash-strapped Sri Lanka gets Russian oil to ease shortages | Al Jazeera

Sri Lanka has taken delivery of a consignment of Russian oil to restart operations at the country’s only refinery, the energy minister said.
The delivery of Russian crude oil – which could soon be subject to a European embargo – had been waiting offshore for over a month as Sri Lanka was unable to raise the millions to pay for it, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera told reporters on Saturday.
Sri Lanka will pay $72.6m to buy the 90,000-tonne shipment of Russian oil, the minister said.

Japan Eyes Maglev Line Environmental Assessment from Next Year - JIJI PRESS

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida indicated Saturday that the government is aiming to start next year an environmental impact assessment for the unbuilt section of the planned Chuo Shinkansen magnetic levitation line... The prime minister was speaking to reporters during his visit to a test maglev line in the city of Tsuru, Yamanashi Prefecture, west of Tokyo.
The assessment is seen covering areas between Nagoya Station in Aichi Prefecture and Shin-Osaka Station in Osaka Prefecture.

Japan Lower House OKs Porn Victim Protection Bill - JIJI PRESS

Japan's House of Representatives approved a bill Friday to protect people who ended up appearing in pornographic videos against their will.
The bill, submitted by the chairman of the Cabinet Committee of the lower chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament, was passed unanimously... The bill stipulates a period during which porn actors can freely annul contracts after the release of videos in which they appear.

Japanese Red Army leader released after 20-year prison stint - Nikkei Asia

Fusako Shigenobu, the founder of the now-disbanded Japanese Red Army militant organization that committed a string of terrorist attacks around the world in the 1970s and 1980s, was released from prison on Saturday after serving a 20-year sentence.
Shigenobu, 76, was incarcerated for masterminding the 1974 seizure of the French Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands, by the leftist revolutionary group that she founded three years earlier in Lebanon.

Texas school shooting survivor smeared blood on herself, played dead

When an 11-year-old student at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, saw her friend get fatally shot in front of her inside their fourth-grade class Tuesday, she went into what her aunt called “survivor mode” and smeared the other girl’s blood on her body to convince the gunman that she, too, was dead.
“My sister-in-law said is that she saw her friend full of blood, and she got blood and put it on herself,” Blanca Rivera told station KPRC of her niece, Miah Cerrillo.
Before playing dead, the quick-thinking girl also managed to grab her dead teacher’s phone and call 911 for help.

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News Headlines - 27 May 2022

Ukraine: The European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom establish the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group (ACA) for Ukraine | EEAS Website

Today, the European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom announced the creation of the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group (ACA), a mechanism aimed at ensuring efficient coordination of their respective support to accountability efforts on the ground. The ACA will reinforce current EU, US and UK efforts to further accountability for atrocity crimes in the context of Russia’s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine. It advances commitments made by the European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom to demonstrate international support and solidarity at this crucial historical moment for Ukraine.

Israel Tells U.S. It Killed Iranian Officer, Official Says - The New York Times

The commanders of the Guards and the Quds Force — the powerful unit within the Guards responsible for operations outside Iran’s borders — were both in attendance, hinting at the colonel’s importance.
Col. Sayad Khodayee, 50, was fatally shot outside his home on a quiet residential street in Tehran on Sunday when two gunmen on motorcycles approached his car and fired five bullets into it, according to state media. Iran has blamed Israel for the killing, which bore the hallmarks of other Israeli targeted killings of Iranians in a shadow war that has been playing out for years on land, sea, air and in cyberspace... A spokeswoman for the Israeli prime minister declined to comment on the killing. But according to an intelligence official briefed on the communications, Israel has informed American officials that it was behind the killing.
The United States has designated the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group — a decision that has been a sticking point in the negotiations with Iran to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran has demanded that the designation be removed as a condition for restoring the deal, but the United States has refused, leaving the negotiations frozen.

BBC to cut output and 1,000 jobs in response to licence fee squeeze | Financial Times

The BBC has unveiled plans to pare back its output, shutting two television channels and axing 1,000 jobs in a bid to cope with inflation and the squeeze on its licence fee funding... As part of those efforts, Davie will shut the BBC4 and CBBC television stations in 2025, effectively making the services online only. The BBC’s two rolling news channels, serving UK and international audiences, will be merged.
Davie told staff he plans to cut or reallocate about £500mn of annual spending, which amounts to around a 10th of the BBC’s annual revenue. The broadcaster’s public arm will shed about 1,000 jobs, roughly 6 per cent of its headcount.
Approximately £300mn of the reallocated spending will be moved from traditional broadcasting and diverted into spending on online content, which can be consumed on demand.
Original programming for television channels will be cut by 200 hours, as Davie pushes the BBC towards concentrating its spending on fewer shows that deliver the highest impact. Funding for BBC World Service will be reduced by £30mn a year.

BOJ's gov't bond holdings in FY 2021 fall for 1st time under Kuroda - The Mainichi

The Bank of Japan's holdings of government bonds dropped in fiscal 2021 for the first time since Governor Haruhiko Kuroda took the helm as more short-term issues intended to finance the government's pandemic responses reached maturity, though total assets hit a new record, its earnings report showed Friday.
The BOJ owned 526.17 trillion yen ($4.1 trillion) in Japanese government bonds in the year to March, down 1.1 percent from a year ago, roughly about half of the state's bonds outstanding. The Japanese central bank has been gobbling up government debt to keep borrowing costs at extremely low levels to support the economy whose size stood at about 540 trillion yen as of March.
The central bank's total assets still hit a record 736.25 trillion yen as it boosted loans to support companies hit by the pandemic-induced economic slowdown.

Wimbledon drops ‘Miss’ and ‘Mrs’ from tennis honours boards | The Times

Wimbledon is replacing its honours boards before next month’s championships to remove the titles “Miss” and “Mrs” before the names of female winners to match the men’s boards.
Traditionally, All England Lawn Tennis Club has given women the titles but not men. Three years ago it dropped the use of the honorifics when umpires were announcing the scores at the end of a game.

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News Headlines - 26 May 2022

Spanish parliament approves ‘only yes means yes’ consent bill | The Guardian

Spain’s parliament has approved a bill that makes consent a key determinant in sexual assault cases, freeing survivors of having to prove that violence or intimidation was used against them.
The bill, popularly known as “Only yes means yes”, seeks to tackle the nebulous definition of consent in Spanish law. In the absence of a codified definition, the law had long relied on evidence of violence, resistance or intimidation to decide whether a criminal sexual act occurred.
The new bill defines consent as an explicit expression of a person’s will, making it clear that silence or passivity do not equal consent. Non-consensual sex can be considered aggression and subject to prison terms of up to 15 years.

Twitter to pay $150 mln to settle with U.S. over privacy, security violations | Reuters

Twitter Inc has agreed to pay $150 million to settle allegations it misused private information, like phone numbers, to target advertising after telling users the information would be used for security reasons, according to court documents filed on Wednesday.
Twitter's settlement covers allegations that it misrepresented the "security and privacy" of user data between May 2013 and September 2019, according to the court documents.
The company will pay $150 million as part of the settlement announced by the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In addition to the monetary settlement, the agreement requires Twitter to improve its compliance practices.

Meghan Markle Makes Surprise Visit to Memorial for Texas School Shooting | PEOPLE.com

Meghan Markle visited Uvalde, Texas, on Thursday to honor the victims of the elementary school shooting that took the lives of 19 young students and two teachers.
Meghan, who lives in California with her husband Prince Harry and their two young children, was spotted laying white flowers with a purple ribbon at a memorial outside Uvalde County Courthouse. She then knelt down and hung her head at the cross for 10-year-old victim Uziyah Garcia.

Sunken Hokkaido tourist boat raised to surface in 2nd salvage attempt

A tourist boat that sank off Hokkaido last month, leaving 14 people dead and 12 missing, was successfully raised to the surface Thursday after an initial attempt to salvage the vessel earlier this week resulted in it sinking to greater depths.
Nippon Salvage Co., hired by the Japan Coast Guard, lifted the 19-ton Kazu I from the seabed at a depth of 182 meters, with its hull breaking the surface at around 6:55 p.m.

Early fish fossil ‘missing link in human evolution’ | The Times

A 390 million-year-old fish unearthed in Scotland is one of the first ancestors of four-limbed animals, including humans, according to new research.
The bizarre creature was discovered in 1890 at a prehistoric graveyard in Caithness and has fascinated scientists ever since. Now a study has identified it as a missing link in the evolution of vertebrates. Named Palaeospondylus gunni, the animal has been placed at the base of its family tree.

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News Headlines - 25 May 2022

Zelensky says Ukraine will fight until it regains all its territories after Kissinger remark | The Hill

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said during the World Economic Forum on Wednesday that Ukraine would fight until it regained all of its territories — comments that come after former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger remarked that Ukraine’s borders should remain as they were prior to the start of the Russian invasion.

Russia: Alexei Navalny appeal fails, will move to a ′maximum-security′ jail | DW

A Russian court on Tuesday rejected Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's appeal against his nine-year prison sentence for fraud.
The opposition leader will now be transferred from a penal colony to a high-security prison for serious criminals.

'Evita' Peron stars once again on Argentine bills - JIJI PRESS

Eva Peron is back on Argentina's currency, six years after the mythic former first lady -- who died 70 years ago -- was replaced by an Andean deer.
The Central Bank of Argentina on Monday presented its new series of 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 peso notes ($0.80, $1.60, $4 and $8) which, according to a press release, mark the return of historical heroes and heroines to the South American country's paper money.

Last street payphone in New York City removed - CBS News

It was the end of an era in New York City today: the city's last remaining payphone was removed... The removal of pay phones in New York City began in 2015, and LinkNYC is the technology that essentially replaced them. CityBridge developed LinkNYC, which look like digital billboards that offer free high-speed WiFi to the streets of New York... The old payphone that once stood outside 745 7th Avenue will be brought to the Museum of the City of New York as part of its new "Analog City" exhibit. The exhibit looks back at life in the city before computers.
While there are no more freestanding, public pay phones left in New York City, LinkNYC says they could still exist – on private property. There are also four "Superman booths," or full-length phonebooths left in the city, but it is unclear if their phones are in service.

Tiny robotic crabs are the world's smallest remote-controlled walking robots - CNN

Engineers at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, invented the world's smallest remote-controlled walking robot, according to research published in the journal Science Robotics... It took a year and a half to create the miniscule metal creatures, said coauthor John A. Rogers, the Louis Simpson and Kimberly Querrey Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University.
His team was comprised of students across varying academic levels who combined critical- and creative-thinking skills to design robots that looked like crabs as well as other animals like inchworms and crickets, he said.

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News Headlines - 24 May 2022

Town in western Japan gets back most of mistakenly remitted money | NHK WORLD

A town in western Japan says it has retrieved more than 90 percent of 46.3 million yen, or about 360,000 dollars, that it mistakenly deposited into a resident's bank account... Abu Town Mayor Hanada Norihiko and a lawyer representing the town held a news conference on Tuesday.
They said that through legal procedures, authorities seized the accounts of three online payment service agencies, which Taguchi had repeatedly transferred the money to. On Friday, the three agencies sent back funds totaling about 330,000 dollars to the town's account. Authorities also seized about 470 dollars that remained in Taguchi's account.

Sunken Hokkaido tour boat drops back to seabed while being towed - Japan Today

A sightseeing boat that sank off Hokkaido a month ago, leaving 14 people dead and 12 missing, dropped back to the seabed at a depth of around 180 meters as a salvage company was attempting to tow it, the Japan Coast Guard said Tuesday, in a setback to efforts to bring it to port for an investigation into the cause of the accident... Nippon Salvage Co. had been towing the boat slowly at a depth of around 20 meters after raising it from a depth of some 120 meters the previous day, but the coast guard was told by the company Tuesday morning that the vessel had dropped.
The coast guard confirmed the boat is now on the seabed about 11 kilometers west off Utoro port in Shari, where the ship left for the sightseeing trip. The vessel appears intact, it said, adding that the current was relatively fast near the site.

Airbnb to close its domestic business in mainland China

Vacation rental firm Airbnb said on Tuesday it will shut down all listings and experiences in mainland China starting July 30, joining a long list of Western internet platforms that have opted out of the China market.
The company made the announcement in a letter posted to its official WeChat account addressed to its Chinese users without elaborating on the reasons behind the decision. The San Francisco-based company said Chinese users would still be allowed to book listings and experiences abroad.

ISIS Plotting To Assassinate George W. Bush In Dallas

An Iraqi man in the U.S. accused of being linked to ISIS operatives was plotting to kill George W. Bush, going so far as to travel to Dallas in November to take video around the former president’s home and recruiting a team of compatriots he hoped to smuggle into the country over the Mexican border, according to an FBI search-warrant application filed March 23 and unsealed this week in the Southern District of Ohio.
The FBI said it uncovered the scheme through the work of two confidential informants and surveillance of the alleged plotter’s account on the Meta-owned WhatsApp messaging platform. The suspect, Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, based in Columbus, Ohio, said he wanted to assassinate Bush because he felt the former president was responsible for killing many Iraqis and breaking apart the country after the 2003 U.S. military invasion, according to the warrant.

Iran: Revolutionary Guard officer assassinated in Tehran | Al Jazeera

Gunmen riding on motorcycles opened fire on a senior officer of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) outside his home, killing him in his car in the capital, Tehran.
Hassan Sayyad Khodaei was killed by five gunshots as he returned home near Mojahedin-e-Islam Street at about 4pm (11:30 GMT), reported the state news agency IRNA on Sunday... Khodaei was a member of the Quds Force, which is responsible for the IRGC’s foreign operations, and he reportedly served in Syria in past years.

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News Headlines - 23 May 2022

Sunken tour boat raised close to sea surface off Hokkaido | NHK WORLD

The "Kazu I" sightseeing boat went down a month ago, on April 23, with 26 people aboard. Fourteen have been confirmed dead, and 12 remain missing.
On Monday, salvage workers raised the boat from the seabed at a depth of 120 meters to about 20 meters below the surface.
The boat was lifted by a salvage barge. It is now being transported to shallow waters off the coast of Shari Town, the port it sailed from.

Biden launches Indo-Pacific Economic Framework with 13 nations including Japan | The Japan Times

In a new effort to strengthen economic cooperation in the region while keeping China in check, U.S. President Joe Biden launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity on Monday in Tokyo, with 12 other countries including Japan joining the initiative.
The IPEF is an attempt by the U.S. to reassert its economic leadership in the region after it withdrew from a major Asia-Pacific trade pact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, in 2017 under then-President Donald Trump. But the IPEF faces tough questions over just how effective it will be in practice.

N. Korea's Kim chairs state funeral for military official amid virus - The Mainichi

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sunday chaired a large state funeral for a top military official, state-run media reported Monday, as the country struggles to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Korean Central Television broadcast video footage of more than 1,000 military officers and soldiers attending the farewell for Hyon Chol Hae, marshal of the Korean People's Army and general adviser to the Ministry of National Defense, who died last Thursday.

Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee concert lineup revealed, Diana Ross to perform first UK gig in 15 years | Fox News

On Thursday, the BBC and Buckingham Palace announced that a mega concert, titled "Platinum Party at the Palace," will take place in London on June 4 and last nearly three hours.
Some artists expected to take the royal stage include Alicia Keys, Rod Stewart, Duran Duran, Andrea Bocelli, Queen with Adam Lambert and Nile Rodgers. Elton John’s performance will be pre-recorded as he’s currently on tour. Diana Ross will also perform in her first UK gig in 15 years.

Stanley Johnson: PM's father secures French citizenship | Sky News

The prime minister's father Stanley Johnson has said he is "absolutely delighted" after securing French citizenship.
The 81-year-old, who voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum unlike Boris Johnson who was a figurehead for the Vote Leave campaign, said he is pleased to retain a tie with the bloc.

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News Headlines - 22 May 2022

Japan PM Kishida Cabinet's approval rises to record 61.5%: Kyodo poll

The approval rating for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's Cabinet rose to 61.5 percent, the highest since he took office in October last year, reflecting public satisfaction with the government starting to ease COVID-19 restrictions, a Kyodo News survey showed Sunday... The results showed that 53.9 percent of those polled back the government's recent decision to change its policy on masks, now saying that wearing them outdoors is not always necessary, provided people are not conversing.

Japan Lower House Speaker Facing Sexual Harassment Allegation - JIJI PRESS

With only four weeks to go until the end of the ongoing session of the Diet, Japan's parliament, opposition parties are poised to grill Hiroyuki Hosoda, speaker of the House of Representatives, the Diet's lower chamber, over his alleged sexual harassment... According to a Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine report published Thursday, Hosoda asked a female reporter about her private life. He also made a phone call to the reporter late at night and asked her to come over to his place.

Millions stranded as flooding causes havoc in Bangladesh, India | Al Jazeera

Heavy rains have caused widespread flooding in parts of Bangladesh and India, leaving millions stranded and at least 57 dead, officials have said.
In Bangladesh, about two million people have been marooned by the worst floods in the country’s northeast for nearly two decades while nearly one million people have been affected by the flooding.
At least 100 villages at Zakiganj were inundated after floodwater rushing from India’s northeast breached a major embankment on the Barak River, said Mosharraf Hossain, the chief government administrator of the Sylhet region.

Myanmar leader begins peace talks with ethnic militia groups - ABC News

The head of Myanmar’s military government on Friday held the first in a monthlong series of person-to-person peace talks he has initiated with the country’s historically restive ethnic minority groups, state media reported.
Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing held discussions with Yawd Serk, chairman of the Restoration Council of Shan State and Shan State Army, the political body and its military wing representing the Shan minority from eastern Myanmar, state-run MRTV television reported.
Min Aung Hlaing’s meetings in the capital, Naypyitaw, with the leaders of the ethnic armed organizations are their first face-to-face peace talks since the military seized power in February last year from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Russian gymnast banned for one year for pro-war 'Z' symbol | The Japan Times

A Russian gymnast who sported an insignia linked to his country’s invasion of Ukraine on a medal podium has been banned for one year, a disciplinary panel said.
Ivan Kuliak’s singlet had the letter “Z” prominently placed as he stood next to Ukraine’s Kovtun Illia, the gold medalist at a World Cup event in Doha in March... A disciplinary commission of the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation (GEF) found that Kuliak violated rules of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), the sport’s ruling body.

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