Abe to skip Beijing parade
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will not attend a military parade in China next week to commemorate the end of World War II, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters yesterday. Suga said the decision was made after considering Abe’s parliamentary activities and political schedule. However, he added Abe told parliament recently that he hoped the theme of China’s commemorative event “would not be anti-Japanese.”
Abe criticizes visit
Abe yesterday criticized his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, for a weekend visit to the disputed Kuril island chain. The visit “conflicts with Japan’s position and hurts the feelings of the Japanese people. It is extremely regrettable,” Abe told a parliamentary panel when asked about the trip. Medvedev on Saturday visited Iturup, one of four Kuril islands controlled by Russia.
Two fires near Tokyo
An explosion yesterday rocked a warehouse at the US Army’s Sagami General Depot in Sagamihara, about 40km from Tokyo, while a blaze broke out at a steel plant near Haneda International Airport. No injuries were reported from either fire. Dramatic video footage showed large sparks shooting out like fireworks from the fire on the depot’s roof. Local and US base firefighters delayed battling the fire while the contents of the building were assessed and the fire died out on its own about six hours after it started, shortly before 1am. US forces said the building held canisters of compressed gases such as nitrogen and oxygen. The Kawasaki city fire department said the blaze at the plant, owned by a unit of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, may have been caused by workers who were using gas burners to dismantle the site. The fire was put out shortly after 1:30pm.
Kidnapped Chinese freed
A Chinese tourist who was kidnapped by the Taliban more than a year ago has been freed, Minister of the Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Sunday. The man was abducted in May last near the western city of Dera Ismail Khan while on a cycling trip. Khan gave few details about the tourist’s recovery other than saying it was the result of an intelligence operation and the culmination of more than a year of effort by the government.
Amnesty reports on torture
Security forces used iron bars and acid to force confessions and crush opposition during President Pierre Nkurunziza’s successful bid for a third term in office, Amnesty International said yesterday. Testimonies recorded by Amnesty in the report accuse both the police and National Intelligence Service (SNR) of carrying out “torture and other ill-treatment” since April against people suspected of participating in protests against Nkurunziza’s controversial re-election bid. Police beat people with electric cables and batons, while the SNR used iron bars, as well as “forcing detainees’ heads under dirty water,” said the report read, titled Just tell me what to confess to.
Bus bombing kills two
A bomb yesterday struck a bus carrying policemen, killing two and wounding 24, officials said. The attack occurred in the Nile Delta province of Baheira, 260km north of Cairo, while the policemen were travelling to work in a civilian bus.
President not resigning
President Otto Perez said on Sunday that he would not resign and rejected allegations that he was one of the ringleaders of a corruption scandal shaking the country. Prosecutors and officials from a UN investigative commission said on Friday they had uncovered extensive evidence implicating Perez and ex-vice president Roxana Baldetti in a massive, highly organized scheme to reduce importers’ customs duties in exchange for bribes. With two weeks to go to general elections, Perez made a statement to the nation in which he pledged to abide by legal processes, but said he would not quit.
Kidnap victims rescued
Officials say federal police have arrested a cell of the Gulf Cartel in the border state of Tamaulipas and freed 11 kidnap victims showing signs of severe malnutrition and torture. A statement from Tamaulipas security officials says the victims were kidnapped while traveling on roads in the state that borders Texas and the Gulf state of Veracruz, and were being held for ransom. Ten people were detained, including the cell leader. Police also found human remains in a septic tank of the house where victims were held in Pueblo Viejo, Veracruz, near the Tamaulipas border.
Crowds wish Carter well
Larger-than-usual crowds of well-wishers meant former president Jimmy Carter had to teach an extra Bible class at his rural Georgia church and a local schoolhouse on Sunday, after he announced on Thursday cancer had spread to his brain. Carter, 90, a lifelong Baptist and church deacon, has taught Sunday school for decades, and the Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, is used to a throng. The church’s Web site asks people to line up before 9am and attend an orientation before the 10am class. Carter taught a second Bible class to another crowd at a local school before returning to the church sanctuary to pose for photos with people for more than a half an hour. The first person lined up at midnight and some followers drove hours to attend, local television reported.
Two held on gun charges
Two Iowa men suspected of making violent social media threats to people attending the Pokemon World Championships in Boston have been arrested on gun charges. Boston police said on Sunday that convention security reported the threats on Thursday and the suspects were stopped as they were about to enter the event hours later. They said a search of their car on Friday found a 12-gauge shotgun, an AR-15 rifle, several hundred rounds of ammunition and a hunting knife. Police said 18-year-old Kevin Norton, of Ames, and 27-year-old James Stumbo, of Boone, were being arraigned on firearms charges yesterday.
Woman forced to fly plane
A woman was seriously injured on Sunday in an ultralight aircraft crash after she was forced to fly the plane — despite having no flight experience — when the pilot lost consciousness, officials said. The woman suffered burns and multiple contusions, while the pilot died, though it was unclear if that happened before or after the plane crashed near Seville Airport, an emergency services spokesman said. “The woman kept flying, she did not how to fly, so they guided her from the control tower to see if she could control the plane until landing it at the airport,” he added.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
LIFELONG LOSS: Jiro Hamasumi, who was not quite born when an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his father and other relatives, but said he thinks about his father daily As Japan marks 75 years since the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the last generation of nuclear bomb survivors is working to ensure their message lives on after them. The “hibakusha” — literally “person affected by the bomb” — have for decades been a powerful voice calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. There are an estimated 136,700 left, many of whom were infants or soon to be born at the time of the attacks. The average age of a survivor now is a little over 83, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, lending an urgency as they share their testimonies