Scholz issues pledge
Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday pledged not to ignore “controversies” during a high-stakes trip to China this week, which has sparked a storm of criticism. “We seek cooperation, when it is in the interest of both sides. We will not ignore controversies,” he wrote in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, ahead of his visit today together with a business delegation. Scholz listed “difficult topics” that he would raise, including respect for civil liberties, the rights of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and free and fair world trade. He would be the first EU leader to visit China since late 2019.
Bolsonaro urges calm
Outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday asked his supporters to “unblock the roads” and demonstrate elsewhere as they push for military intervention to keep him in power. The far-right leaders’ supporters are rallying in front of military installations in major cities and have blocked highways in more than half the country’s states. The demonstrators, unwilling to accept the results of Bolsonaro’s Sunday election defeat to leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, have clogged roads and caused nationwide disruptions for three straight days.
Meloni to meet EU leaders
Italy’s new far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni was to meet EU chiefs in Brussels yesterday for the first time since her election, with the energy crisis expected to dominate the agenda. Meloni has vowed to put Italy’s interests first and the trip would be closely watched amid fears of turbulent relations ahead between the populist government in Rome and the bloc’s powerhouses. “Brussels should not do what Rome can do best,” Meloni was quoted as saying in a book to be published today, slamming “a Europe that is invasive in small things and absent in big matters.”
Francis aims to foster ties
Pope Francis, leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics, was yesterday to travel to the Persian Gulf state to foster ties with Islam in a voyage overshadowed by criticism of human rights abuses. The second voyage by a pope to the Arabian Peninsula after Francis’ 2019 trip to the United Arab Emirates is similarly aimed at encouraging interfaith dialogue between Muslims and Christians, and would include the pontiff leading a prayer for peace at a vast cathedral opened last year. Francis, 85, who would likely use a wheelchair due to recurring knee pain was to conduct a “courtesy visit” to King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa following a welcoming ceremony.
Storm causes flooding
Tropical Storm Lisa yesterday slowed after making landfall in the country, causing flooding and plunging parts of the nation into darkness as it churned westward. The US National Hurricane Center has downgraded Lisa from a hurricane to a tropical storm, saying that as of midnight the eye hovered about 135km outside of Belize City and was moving toward Guatemala and southeastern Mexico at 19kph. For the next day or so, the storm system is expected to pack a gusty punch and deliver heavy rain, swells and flash flooding to Central America’s northern coast and the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, further weakening as it moves inland.
Pins hidden in her shoes, head forced down a toilet, kicked in the stomach: South Korean hairdresser Pyo Ye-rim suffered a litany of abuse from school bullies, but now she is speaking out. The 26-year-old is part of a phenomenon sweeping South Korea known as “Hakpok #MeToo,” where people who were bullied publicly name and shame the perpetrators of school violence — “hakpok” in Korean — decades after the alleged crimes. Made famous globally by Netflix’s gory revenge series The Glory, the movement has ensnared everyone from K-pop stars to baseball players and accusations — often anonymous — can be career-ending, with
One of Australia’s two active volcanoes on an island near Antarctica — known as Big Ben — has been spotted by satellite spewing lava. The lava flow on the uninhabited Heard Island, about 4,100km southwest of Perth and 1,500km north of Antarctica, is part of an ongoing eruption that was first noted more than a decade ago. The image was caught by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite on Thursday, and is a composite of an optical picture and an infrared image. The lava is seen flowing down the side of Big Ben from near the summit, known as Mawson Peak.
TIME TO TALK: Among China’s grievances were economic and trade issues related to Taiwan, but both countries emphasized the need to maintain communication US Trade Representative Katherine Tai (戴琪) on Friday raised complaints about China’s state-led economic policies during a meeting with Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao (王文濤), who objected to US tariffs and trade policies, as well as issues related to Taiwan, their offices said. However, statements from the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce emphasized the need for Washington and Beijing to maintain communication on trade. “Ambassador Tai highlighted the need to address the critical imbalances caused by China’s state-led, non-market approach to the economy and trade policy,” the USTR said in a statement released after the
READY FOR ACTION: Military, police, firefighters and volunteers were standing by for search-and-rescue operations, with an official saying they ‘cannot afford not to prepare’ Philippine officials yesterday began evacuating thousands of people, shut down schools and offices and imposed a no-sail ban as Typhoon Mawar approached the country’s northern provinces a week after battering the US territory of Guam. The typhoon was packing maximum sustained winds of 155kpm and gusts of up to 190kph, but was forecast to spare the mountainous region a direct hit. Current projections show the typhoon veering northeast toward Taiwan or southern Japan. Although it is expected to slow down considerably, authorities warned of dangerous tidal surges, flash floods and landslides as it blows past the northernmost province of Batanes from today