Lockdown for rehearsal
The center of Beijing was under lockdown early yesterday for a nighttime parade rehearsal by the Chinese military, which is preparing for Oct.1 national day ceremonies. The Avenue of Eternal Peace was closed to traffic for about a dozen kilometers to allow troops to parade around Tiananmen Square. Xinhua news agency said about 90,000 people were involved. Security forces blocked access to residences with views of the avenue, ordering several foreign media outlets in the area to leave their offices for the weekend. Other rehearsals are expected each weekend this month, a guard said.
Europeans ‘failing on deal’
Atomic Energy Organization of Iran President Ali Akbar Salehi yesterday said the European parties to a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran have failed to fulfill their commitments under the pact. “The deal is not a one-way street and Iran will act accordingly as we have done so far by gradually downgrading our commitments,” he said after meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency Acting Director General Cornel Feruta in Tehran. “Iran will continue to reduce its nuclear commitments as long as the other parties fail to carry out their commitments.” Feruta arrived in Tehran yesterday for talks with top officials, a day after Tehran announced further breaches of limits on its nuclear activity set by the pact.
Ex-empress has surgery
Former empress Michiko yesterday had surgery after the 84-year-old was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, the Imperial Household Agency said. Her operation at the University of Tokyo Hospital began yesterday morning and ended safely, an agency official said. Former emperor Akihito and the couple’s daughter, Sayako Kuroda, visited the hospital to see Michiko before the operation.
Bushfires rage in two states
Firefighters yesterday battled more than 100 bushfires across Queensland and New South Wales as authorities warned that parts of the country could expected a severe bushfire season this summer. “We’ve never seen this before in recorded history, fire weather has never been as severe this early in spring,” said Andrew Sturgess, an inspector with the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services. In Queensland 71 fires were burning, although none posed an immediate threat to major population centers. In New South Wales, parts of which are facing the worst drought in living memory, 57 fires were burning, with the largest having burned through more than 56,000 hectares.
Presidential debates start
The first of three nights of three nights of televised debates between the candidates in Sunday’s presidential election was held on Saturday. The showdown between the 26 hopefuls is seen as the highlight of the campaign and a turning point in the nation’s politics. Called The Road to Carthage: Tunisia Makes Its Choice, the program was broadcast on 11 television channels, two of them public, and about 20 radio stations. The first debate involved eight of the candidates.
New energy minister named
King Salman yesterday named one of his sons, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, to be minister of energy, replacing Khalid al-Falih. The new energy minister is an experienced oil industry figure.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around