Japan to lift emergency state for Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo

People wearing face masks shop at a mall in Yokohama near Tokyo on May 19, 2020. Japan ended of the state of emergency for most regions of the country, but restrictions are being kept in place in Tokyo and seven other high-risk areas. (AP)
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Updated 21 May 2020

Japan to lift emergency state for Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo

  • Tokyo and four other prefectures, including the northern island of Hokkaido, would remain under the state of emergency

TOKYO: Japan will lift its state of emergency in Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo on Thursday as the number of new coronavirus infections drops, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Thursday, with the country eager to revive its battered economy.
Tokyo and four other prefectures, including the northern island of Hokkaido, would remain under the state of emergency — which has already been lifted for much of the country.


India’s controversial farm bills become law despite protests

Updated 27 September 2020

India’s controversial farm bills become law despite protests

  • Farmers’ organizations say one of the three laws could lead to the government stopping buying grain at guaranteed prices
  • Nearly 85% of India’s poor farmers own less than 2 hectares of land

NEW DELHI: India’s president on Sunday approved three controversial agricultural bills amid nationwide protests by farmers who say the new laws will stunt their bargaining power and instead allow large retailers to have control over pricing.
Farmers’ organizations say one of the three laws could lead to the government stopping buying grain at guaranteed prices, a move that would disrupt wholesale markets which have so far ensured fair and timely payments to farmers.
President Ram Nath Kovind’s approval is likely to further stir protests, leading farmers’ organizations said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already lost a key political ally from the northern Indian state of Punjab, one of India’s two bread basket states, where farmers form an influential voting bloc.
The country’s main opposition Congress party has also backed the protests.
Under the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill — one of the laws already approved by parliament — growers can directly sell their produce to institutional buyers such as big traders and retailers.
Nearly 85% of India’s poor farmers own less than 2 hectares (5 acres) of land and they find it difficult to directly negotiate with large buyers.
Modi’s administration has clarified that the wholesale markets will operate as usual, and the government only aims to empower farmers to sell directly to buyers.