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.
The Polish Supreme Court on Friday quashed a lower court’s green light for the extradition of a businessman to China for alleged fraud, a charge he has denied, saying that he is being targeted for supporting Falun Gong. Polish authorities took Chinese-born Swedish citizen Li Zhihui, now 53, into custody in 2019 on an international warrant issued by China for alleged non-payment in a business deal, Krzysztof Kitajgrodzki, his Polish lawyer, told reporters. Following the Supreme Court ruling, the case would return to a lower appellate court for review. Kitajgrodzki told reporters that it was still not a given that his client
The Palauan president-elect has vowed to stand up to Chinese “bullying” in the Pacific, saying that the archipelago nation is set to stand by its alliances with “true friends,” Taiwan and the US. Surangel Whipps Jr, 52, a supermarket owner and two-time senator from a prominent Palauan family, is to be sworn in as the new president tomorrow, succeeding his brother-in-law, Tommy Remengesau Jr. In a forthright interview, Whipps said that the US had demonstrated over the years that it was a reliable friend of Palau, most recently shown by its delivery of 6,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. “It’s important for
DELIVERING HOPE: The Japanese PM pledged to push ahead with plans to stage the Games, despite polls showing about 80% think they will not or should not happen Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga yesterday vowed to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control and hold the already postponed Olympic Games this summer with ample protection. In a speech opening a new session of parliament, Suga said that his government would revise laws to make disease prevention measures enforceable with penalties and compensation. Early in the pandemic, Japan was able to keep its caseload manageable with nonbinding requests for businesses to close or operate with social distancing, and for people to stay at home, but recent weeks have seen several highs in new cases per day, in part blamed on eased attitudes
On Sunday last week, in a nondescript building in the Indian city of Gwalior, 322km south of Delhi, a large crowd of men gathered. Most wore bright saffron hats and scarves, a color evoking Hindu nationalism, and many held strands of flowers as devotional offerings. They were there to attend the inauguration of the Godse Gyan Shala, a memorial library and “knowledge center” dedicated to Nathuram Godse, the man who shot Mahatma Gandhi. The devotional yellow and pink flowers were laid around a black and white photograph of Godse, the centerpiece of the room. On Jan. 30, 1948, Godse stepped out in