Japan ex-PM Shinzo Abe’s state funeral underway

Update Japan ex-PM Shinzo Abe’s state funeral underway
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Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida sends his condolences during the state funeral of assassinated former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe on Sept. 27, 2022. (AP)
Update Japan ex-PM Shinzo Abe’s state funeral underway
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The funeral is stated to have cost 1.65 billion yen. (AP)
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Updated 27 September 2022

Japan ex-PM Shinzo Abe’s state funeral underway

Japan ex-PM Shinzo Abe’s state funeral underway
  • More than 700 foreign guests and over 40 state leaders are expected at the state funeral today

DUBAI/TOKYO: Japan began a controversial state funeral for assassinated former prime minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday, with his widow Akie carrying his ashes into a Tokyo hall where thousands of mourners gathered.

Dressed in a black kimono, Akie carried the ashes in a box covered with a decorative fabric into the Budokan venue as a 19-gun salute sounded in honour of the slain ex-premier.

More than 700 foreign guests and over 40 state leaders were expected at the state funeral today. 

Dignitaries include Jordan’s King Abdullah II, US Vice President Kamala Harris, India’s PM Narendra Modi, Singapore’s PM Lee Hsien Loong, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, Philippines Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio, Indonesia Vice President Ma’ruf Amin, and European Council President Charles Michel.

The streets of Budokan where the state funeral will take place have been closed since early morning, and according to sources, many police officers from other parts of Japan are present. 

Mourners have already started queuing pay their respects to Abe, at a sectioned area that has been set up near the Budokan funeral hall venue for members of the public to leave flowers and tributes.

The funeral is stated to have cost 1.65 billion yen (or about $11.4 million) with many Japanese opposed to the state event.

On Monday, around 10,000 protestors marched through the streets of Tokyo demanding the funeral be called off.

– with AFP

This article originally appeared on Arab Jews Japan.


Boris Johnson: Putin threatened to lob missile at me

Boris Johnson: Putin threatened to lob missile at me
Updated 7 sec ago

Boris Johnson: Putin threatened to lob missile at me

Boris Johnson: Putin threatened to lob missile at me
  • Johnson emerged as one of the most impassioned Western backers of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

LONDON: President Vladimir Putin threatened to personally target Boris Johnson with a missile attack just before ordering Russian forces into Ukraine, the former UK prime minister has claimed.
The apparent threat came in a phone call just ahead of the invasion on February 24, according to a new BBC documentary to be broadcast on Monday.
Johnson and other Western leaders had been hurrying to Kyiv to show support for Ukraine and try to deter a Russian attack.
“He sort of threatened me at one point and said, ‘Boris, I don’t want to hurt you, but with a missile, it would only take a minute’, or something like that,” Johnson quoted Putin as saying.
Johnson emerged as one of the most impassioned Western backers of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
But prior to the invasion, he says he was at pains to tell Putin that there was no imminent prospect of Ukraine joining NATO, while warning him that any invasion would mean “more NATO, not less NATO” on Russia’s borders.
“He said, ‘Boris, you say that Ukraine is not going to join NATO any time soon.
“’What is any time soon?’ And I said, ‘well it’s not going to join NATO for the foreseeable future. You know that perfectly well’.”
On the missile threat, Johnson added: “I think from the very relaxed tone that he was taking, the sort of air of detachment that he seemed to have, he was just playing along with my attempts to get him to negotiate.”
The BBC documentary charts the growing divide between the Russian leader and the West in the years before the invasion of Ukraine.
It also features Zelensky reflecting on his thwarted ambitions to join NATO prior to Russia’s attack.
“If you know that tomorrow Russia will occupy Ukraine, why don’t you give me something today I can stop it with?” he says.
“Or if you can’t give it to me, then stop it yourself.”
 

 


UK vows to deport foreign criminals under slavery overhaul

UK vows to deport foreign criminals under slavery overhaul
Updated 30 January 2023

UK vows to deport foreign criminals under slavery overhaul

UK vows to deport foreign criminals under slavery overhaul
  • The measures taking effect under a new Nationality and Borders Act mean that Home Office caseworkers can in future demand evidence of modern slavery, rather than taking a victim’s word

LONDON: Britain’s government Monday enacted new measures to accelerate the deportation of foreign criminals, clamping down on some who have claimed protection under UK law as purported victims of “modern slavery.”
It cited the case of one convicted rapist who appealed against a decision by the Home Office (interior ministry) to expel him from Britain, by claiming he was a victim of criminal gangs engaged in human trafficking.
He was bailed pending the appeal, committed another rape, and remains in the UK, the Home Office said.
“It is totally unfair that genuine victims of modern slavery may be left waiting longer to receive the protections they need due to the flagrant abuse of the system,” Home Secretary Suella Braverman said in a statement.
“The changes coming into force will mean if you’ve committed an offense, we have the power to refuse your protections and kick you out of our country,” she said.
The measures taking effect under a new Nationality and Borders Act mean that Home Office caseworkers can in future demand evidence of modern slavery, rather than taking a victim’s word.
That could include evidence from a charity worker or police officer who has helped rescue the victim.
But the changes have been criticized by rights groups for undermining protections for genuine victims. One Braverman initiative — to fly cross-Channel migrants to Rwanda for permanent resettlement — has already been blocked in the courts.
Britain’s National Crime Agency reported in November that Albanian crime groups in particular were manipulating the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), which is being reformed under the new act.
Established in 2009 to help protect human trafficking victims, the NRM is used to identify and refer them to UK government agencies to ensure they receive appropriate support.
If caught working in cannabis farms or other criminal enterprises, Albanian migrants have been coached to claim they are victims of modern-day slavery and apply to the NRM, the crime agency’s report said.
In December, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a new deal with Albania to stem the flow of migrants from the country crossing the Channel on small boats from mainland Europe.
The agreement only came about after the government in Tirana demanded an apology for an anti-migrant “campaign” in UK media, following some incendiary rhetoric from Braverman.
But the minister has maintained a hard line, to the delight of Conservative right-wingers keen to show that Britain can control its borders after Brexit, and the clampdown is one of five priorities promised by Sunak for this year.
“We must stop people exploiting our immigration and asylum laws,” Braverman said in Monday’s statement.
“And I am personally determined to crack down on those abusing the generosity of the British public and taking our country for a ride.”


Cleveland police investigating report of missing Saudi citizen

Omar Al-Anazi. (Police photo)
Omar Al-Anazi. (Police photo)
Updated 29 January 2023

Cleveland police investigating report of missing Saudi citizen

Omar Al-Anazi. (Police photo)
  • The police have categorized the disappearance as “endangered” because of his circumstances as a visitor to the city with limited English language skills

CHICAGO: Police in Cleveland, Ohio released a statement Sunday saying they are actively investigating the Jan. 27 reported disappearance of a visiting Saudi citizen, Omar Al-Anazi.

Al-Anazi, 30, was last seen around 10 a.m. by friends after spending time in the city’s tourist area along the Lake Erie waterfront.

According to witnesses, he was socializing with friends in the downtown area when he was reported missing, the Cleveland Division of Police officials said.

“He went with a group to the East 9th Street Pier at approximately 2:30 a.m. to look at the water and was reportedly intoxicated,” officials of the Cleveland Division of Police Department said in a statement.

When the group went to leave, the statement added, “Al-Anazi reportedly walked away.”

Cleveland Police said that Al-Anazi’s friends searched for him but were unable to locate him. The police have categorized the disappearance as “endangered” because of his circumstances as a visitor to the city with limited English language skills.

Al-Anazi, police said, is visiting from Saudi Arabia and reportedly does not speak English.

He was last seen wearing a beige jacket and pants.

Cleveland Police are asking anyone with information to contact them immediately by calling 1-216-621-1234.

 


Pope condemns increasing ‘death spiral’ in Middle East

Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer from his window at the Vatican, January 29, 2023. (REUTERS)
Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer from his window at the Vatican, January 29, 2023. (REUTERS)
Updated 30 January 2023

Pope condemns increasing ‘death spiral’ in Middle East

Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer from his window at the Vatican, January 29, 2023. (REUTERS)
  • Francis, 86, cited 10 Palestinians, including a woman, killed in an Israeli army raid on a refugee camp in the West Bank, and an attack Friday by a Palestinian gunman that killed seven Israelis outside a synagogue in East Jerusalem

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis on Sunday condemned a resurgence of violence in the Middle East, calling on both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to engage in a “sincere search for peace.”
“The death spiral that increases day by day only closes the few glimmers of trust that exist between the two peoples,” said the pope following his traditional Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square.
Francis, 86, cited 10 Palestinians, including a woman, killed in an Israeli army raid on a refugee camp in the West Bank, and an attack Friday by a Palestinian gunman that killed seven Israelis outside a synagogue in East Jerusalem.
“Since the beginning of the year, dozens of Palestinians have been killed in clashes with the Israeli army,” said the pope.
“I appeal to the two governments and the international community to find other ways without delay, including dialogue and the sincere search for peace.”
“It is with great sorrow that I learn of the news coming from the Holy Land,” he said.

 


At least 50 killed in twin transport mishaps in Pakistan 

At least 50 killed in twin transport mishaps in Pakistan 
Updated 29 January 2023

At least 50 killed in twin transport mishaps in Pakistan 

At least 50 killed in twin transport mishaps in Pakistan 
  • A passenger bus fell into a ravine and caught fire in Balochistan’s Bela area, killing at least 40 people 
  • In second mishap, 10 children were killed after their ferry capsized in country’s northwest on Sunday 

KARACHI: At least 50 people were killed in two separate transport tragedies in Pakistan on Sunday, officials said, renewing a debate about poor transport safety protocols in the South Asian country.  

In the first incident, a passenger bus fell into a ravine and later caught fire in the Bela area of Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province, where road accidents claim thousands of lives annually.   

Balochistan, a mountainous, desert region bordering Afghanistan and Iran, is Pakistan’s largest but most impoverished province, with a staggering 40,000-km network of road infrastructure.   

According to the motorway police, 6,000 to 8,000 people die each year in accidents across the Balochistan province, mainly on single-lane roads that have infamously come to be known as “killer highways.”   

“A bus going from Quetta to Karachi plunged into a ravine and caught fire at around 3 a.m.,” Hamza Anjum Nadeem, the Bela assistant commissioner, told Arab News. “At least 39 bodies have been recovered and a search for others is underway.”  

Anjum later confirmed the death of another passenger, taking the count to 40. Of these, 38 dead bodies were being moved to the southern port city of Karachi, 177 km away from Bela, for medico-legal formalities, Karachi Police Surgeon Dr. Summaiya Syed told Arab News.  

Balochistan is the epicenter of the $64 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a road and infrastructure development plan, which aims to ultimately provide the shortest route for Chinese cargo headed for the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. 

Major roads are slated for construction under the CPEC, including the road from Balochistan’s Khuzdar district to the Chinese-funded, deep-water port of Gwadar. But for now, the absence of dual carriageways, inadequate training of drivers, and a lack of highway patrols mean thousands continue to die on these roads each year.

In another incident, 10 children died when their boat capsized in Tanda Dam lake near Kohat in the country’s northwest, according to police.  

All of the dead recovered so far were aged between 7 and 14 years, local police official Mir Rauf told the AFP news agency. Rauf said 11 children had been rescued from the water, with six in critical condition. The boat was carrying between 25 and 30 students on a day trip from a local madrassa when it overturned.  

“A rescue operation is underway,” Rauf said. Mass drownings are common in Pakistan when aged and overloaded vessels lose their stability and pitch passengers into the water. In July, 18 women drowned when an overcrowded boat carrying a wedding party across the Indus river in Punjab province capsized.  

The South Asian country also has poor road safety controls, and thousands of lives are lost to road crashes each year, particularly in the southwestern Balochistan province.  

According to the National Road Safety Strategy 2018-2030, a report administered by the Asian Development Bank that cited police data, 6,548 people died at the scene of an accident on Pakistan’s roads in 2016. Of these, 355 fatalities happened on national highways and 6,003 on provincial roads.  

At least seven people were killed and 15 others were injured after a passenger bus collided with a truck in Balochistan’s Killa Saifullah district this month. In June last year, 22 people were killed when a passenger bus veered off a narrow road and fell into a ravine in the same district.