Fumio Kishida, from Foreign Minister to New Prime Minister of Japan

Former Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida will succeed Yoshihide Suga as Japan’s prime minister.

Fumio Kishida is confirmed to be Japan’s new prime minister replacing Yoshihide Suga after winning the election for chairman of the ruling Liberal Democracy (LDP) party on Wednesday (29/9).

 

Fumio Kishida

Kishida defeated Japan’s former defense minister, Taro Kono, in the second round of today’s LDP election. Two female competitors, Sanae Takaichi and Seiko Noda, came out after losing votes in the first round of the election.

Prior to the election, Kono had been predicted as a strong candidate for the LDP chairman and prime minister.

However, the final results of the second round showed that Kishida, a 64-year-old politician known for his gentle nature, won 257 votes. Meanwhile, Kono only won 170 votes.

Prior to setting up a career in politics, Kishida had worked in a bank. The man born in 1957 started his career in the Japanese parliament in 1987 as a secretary to members of the Japanese parliament.

It was only in 1999 that Kishida was elected to the parliament of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Reported by Kyodo News, Kishida has a reputation as a calm and honest politician.

He is also rumored to be drinking sake and is a big fan of the Hiroshima Carp professional baseball team.

Kishida served as Japan’s foreign minister from 2012-2017. Last year, he also ran for chairman of the LDP but lost votes to Suga.

As foreign minister, Kishida has made various important decisions, one of which is related to the wartime dispute between Japan and South Korea in 2015.

 

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China Asks Taliban to Commit to Prevent Xinjiang Muslim Separatists
Not only that, he also helped realize the visit of United States President Barack Obama to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 2016.

Apart from serving as foreign minister, he has also served as Minister of State for Special Missions of Japan, Minister of Consumer Affairs of Japan, and Minister of Space Policy of Japan.

Young Kishida had failed three times the University of Tokyo law school entrance exam. This reportedly disappointed his parents.

Not giving up, Kishida finally received higher education at Waseda University, one of the prestigious private campuses in Japan.

Kishida, a father of three, has long been considered one of Japan’s most influential politicians. Many have described him as Japan’s future leader for a long time.

 

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4 People Seriously Injured by Explosion in Swedish Apartment

 

Four people were seriously injured in an explosion and fire that broke out in an apartment complex in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Friday (28/9) morning. The four victims consisted of three women and one man. They are said to have been taken to the Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

 

Apartment Explosion

Firefighters were seen pulling struggling people out of the apartment building, which was engulfed in thick ash plumes.

Public radio SR reported a total of 25 people were injured; and taken to hospital as a result of the incident.

Swedish police said they were still investigating the source of the explosion and fire.

“We believe something exploded which was not of natural causes,” police spokesman Thomas Fuxborg told a news conference.

Fuxborg believes that something “may have been placed at the site of the explosion. He said the fire is still not under control at this time; but residents living in the apartment building have been evacuated.

Meanwhile, emergency officials said the explosion and fire were not due to a gas leak. However, they are reluctant to speculate further and wait for the results of the investigation.

 

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A resident who lives in the apartment, Anja Almen; said she heard a commotion around 05.00 am about 15 minutes after the explosion occurred.

“I went to the balcony and I was shocked. There was smoke everywhere, from every staircase,” he said by telephone; from a nearby church where he and other tenants were evacuated.

“Fire trucks with ladders pulled people from the apartments,” he added.

Sweden is currently struggling to deal with the increase in crime committed by gangsters in recent years. Some gangs did not hesitate to use explosives and firearms to settle disputes.

A report this year shows that in the last two decades; Sweden has gone from being the country with the lowest gun crime rate to one of the highest in Europe.

 

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Covid-19 Cases in China Rise Again

 

China reported the addition of 35 cases of Covid-19 on Monday (27/9). Two of the cases were reported from Xiamen, Fujian province.

 

China Covid

This information was provided by China’s National Health Commission, reported by Reuters. China also reported 20 new asymptomatic Covid-19 cases.

Fujian itself is the province with a new spike in Covid-19 cases recently.

On September 10, Putian City, a region of Fujian Province, reported its first Covid-19 case. Some of the infected patients indicated that they contracted the Delta variant.

The next day, China reported 49 positive cases of Covid-19. Daily transmission of the virus in the Fujian region reached 22 cases.

On Monday (13/9), China reported daily infections had almost doubled, with a total of 92 cases.

 

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Based on data from the National Health Commission (NHC), Fujian contributed a total of 59 cases of Covid-19. A total of 15 Covid-19 patients, including children.

As of September 26, China had 96,050 confirmed cases, with the cumulative death toll remaining at 4,636. On the same day, the country’s daily positive cases reached 1,013, according to Worldometers.

 

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Indian Gangster Shootout in Court, 3 Dead

Three people died in a shootout incident in a New Delhi courtroom; Friday (24/9). The perpetrator and victim are reportedly part of two gangster groups in India.According to police; this incident occurred when the suspect in the case; who was the leader of the gang; appeared in court. Shortly after; two disguised men dressed as lawyers shot the gang in the head.

 

Indian Gangster

New Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana said the two shooters were suspected to be members of a rival gang of the gangster chief. Police also returned fire and killed both attackers.

This incident made many people panic and run for cover during the shooting.

Responding to this incident; one of the officials of the Rohini Court; Arun Kumar; was of the opinion that lawyers who enter the courtroom must be given a special identity card. The goal is to reduce the risk of impersonation.

New Delhi Barrister Association president Sanjeev Nasiar said his party would review appropriate security measures for lawyers coming to court. Not only that; lawyers will also not work on Saturdays.

India is one of the countries in Asia. The total population of this country reaches 1.38 billion people; sourced from the World Bank.

 

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Apart from gangster problems; the country has several environmental problems. Some of them are air pollution control; energy conservation; solid waste management; oil and gas conservation; and forest conservation.

Not only that; India has a regional conflict with China; namely in Ladakh. India is also included in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad); which is a strategic partnership group between the US; India; Japan and Australia that has existed since 2007.

 

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North Korea Gives US-South Korea Conditions to End Korean War

 

North Korea laid out a number of conditions for the United States and South Korea before Pyongyang would negotiate to end the 1950-1953 Korean War.
Through the official state media KCNA; the government led by Kim Jong-un demanded the US-South Korea stop “hostile policies” and double standards towards North Korea.

Previously; North Korea said South Korea’s call for an end to the Korean War; which lasted from 1950-1953; was rushed.

 

North Korea

Pyongyang said there had been no guarantees from Seoul or Washington to stop this series of “hostile policies”.

“Nothing has changed so far the political situation around the DPRK (North Korea) has remained unchanged; and the hostile policy of the United States has not changed; even though calls to stop war have been made hundreds of times;” North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Thae Song was quoted as saying. reported by Reuters; Friday (24/9).

“US efforts to stop double standards and hostile policies are the top priority in stabilizing the situation on the Korean peninsula and ensuring peace on it;” Ri continued.

The two Koreas are technically still at war. Because the war that occurred in 1950-1953 only ended in an armistice; not a peace treaty.

Prior to Ri’s statement; South Korean President Moon Jae-in repeated his call for an official end to the Korean War in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday (21/9).

 

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Moon is confident that Pyongyang will recognize its interest in dialogue with Washington. However; he is also pessimistic that the moment will arrive during his tenure which will end in 2022.

“It seems that North Korea is still weighing options while opening the door to dialogue; because that only escalates tensions to a low level; enough for the US not to cut off all contacts;” Moon said.

Meanwhile; the US has said it wants continued diplomacy to resolve the crisis surrounding North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

However; North Korea rejected the US offer to engage in dialogue.

North and South Korea’s ballistic missile tests last week also further exacerbated an arms race between the two as peace talks appear to be continuing in place.

 

Source: Reuters and CNN. Stay tuned for more international news about North Korea.

Australia plans to open borders before Christmas

The Australian government plans to open international borders no later than Christmas Day celebrations on 25 December.

Australia’s Tourism Minister; Dan Tehan; said Kangaroo Country residents would be allowed to travel abroad without Covid-19 restrictions to countries that had agreed travel corridors or travel bubbles with Canberra.

 

Australia Borders

With that; Tehan said Australians would still comply with the rules regarding the countries they may visit.

“People will be able to freely travel outside Australia without any restrictions and restrictions under the national plan that regulates the level of risk countries are at risk from Covid-19 infection;” said Tehan as quoted by The Straits Times on Thursday (23/9).

Tehan said Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government was exploring opening travel corridors with several countries to ease a number of travel restrictions; including quarantine times.

Tehan hopes that the self-quarantine policy for foreign arrivals can be implemented before Christmas Day arrives.

“This is another reason why everyone should be vaccinated and we must stick to the national plan that will open our international borders; at this rate at the latest by Christmas;” Tehan said.

Tehan has also coordinated with the aviation industry in Australia. One such airline; Qantas announced; it will slowly restart flights in October.

 

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Tehan said the border opening policy came into effect after the vaccination rate in the Australian states reached 80 percent each.

“It’s very important that we make those preparations;” said Tehan.

Australia has become one of the countries with the strictest restrictions in the world since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

In March 2020; Australia closed its borders to non-residents and implemented a mandatory quarantine system so as to severely limit the number of people who can return to the country at any time.

PM Morrison’s government has also imposed rules preventing residents from leaving the country.

“I empathize with Australians who have been denied the opportunity to travel overseas for so long;” he said.

Last July; Australian broadcaster ABC reported that as many as 38;000 Canberrans were still waiting to be repatriated from overseas.

The opening of this border took place after Australia was hit by a new wave of Covid-19 following the spread of the Delta variant; forcing Canberra to tighten the lockdown again.

Until now; the overall Covid-19 cases in Australia reached 92;204 with a death toll of 1;196 people.

 

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France Asks Ambassador to Return to Washington Next Week

French President Emmanuel Macron ordered French Ambassador to the United States Philippe Tienne to return to Washington next week. Macron has been in communication with US President Joe Biden to defuse tensions over Australia’s nuclear submarines.

 

France Ambassador

The talks were the first communications between Macron and Biden since Australia’s announcement of canceling a contract to buy French submarines as part of defense cooperation with Britain and the United States.

“Macron has decided that the French ambassador will return to Washington next week. He will then begin intensive work with senior US officials,” the joint statement said.

Macron and Biden also pledged to resolve the issue. The two of them are said to be meeting in Europe at the end of October 2021.

The meeting will seek “to reach a common understanding and maintain momentum in this process,” the statement said.

He added: “Both leaders agreed that the situation would benefit from open consultations among allies on matters of strategic importance to France and our European partners.”

 

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It said Biden also agreed on the need for a stronger European defense to complement NATO, a key idea that Macron has repeatedly raised.

“The United States also recognizes the importance of a stronger and more capable defense of Europe, which makes a positive contribution to transatlantic and global security and complements NATO,” the statement said.

Previously, in a virtual press conference on Wednesday (15/9), Australia, Britain and the United States announced their trilateral cooperation, AUKUS.

In its first program, AUKUS plans to develop nuclear-powered submarines for the Australian fleet. This cooperation has generated a negative response from various parties, such as China and France.

France later recalled ambassadors to the US and Australia after the two countries cooperated on nuclear submarines.

 

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Anti-Lockdown Demo in Melbourne, 2 Police Injured

Hundreds of people held anti-lockdown demonstrations in Melbourne on Wednesday (22/9). The demonstration led to clashes; resulting in two police officers being injured.
Melbourne Police also arrested 200 people in demonstrations against the lockdown policy in the region.

 

Anti-Lockdown Demo

Launching Channel News Asia; this demonstration was carried out to protest the social restrictions imposed in the state of Victoria.

The Victorian government made it mandatory for construction workers to be vaccinated and closed construction sites; citing non-compliance with health regulations. This policy triggered the demonstration.

“There aren’t a lot of merchants involved. There are small breakaway groups that see the benefits of hijacking these things;” Guenther said.

“We have a lot of resources. We will change our tactics tomorrow; if that’s what we need to do. But of course; my message is; don’t come to town.”

Not only that; demonstrators are also looking with a fine of AU$5;000 (Rp51 million) for violating Covid-19 directives; added Guenther.

 

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“There were some people out there who you would say are from the building industry;” Victoria State Prime Minister Daniel Andrews told reporters.

“There are others who are not…they are not there to protest. <=They are there to fight; pretend demonstrations.”

Major Australian cities; such as Sydney; Melbourne and Canberra; will close for weeks to suppress the spread of the Delta variant. This lockdown is the sixth time for Melbourne.

Meanwhile; Victoria recorded 628 new positive cases on Wednesday (22/9).

As of September 21; the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia alone reached 88;710. On the same day; the positive number in the country increased by 1;609; reported Worldometers.

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Singapore Records 934 Covid-19 Cases, Highest Since 2020

 

Singapore’s Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) recorded 934 cases of COVID-19 on Friday (17/9); the highest daily number of infections since last year. There have been a total of 75;783 cases since COVID-19 was first discovered in the country.

Singapore Covid-19 Cases

The Ministry of Health in Singapore detailed that out of 934 cases; 838 cases occurred in the community and 96 others occurred in dormitories. In addition; the group with the most local cases infected was the elderly; with 241 cases.

Reporting from The Strait Times; the infected patients were hospitalized as many as 813 people to date. That number decreased from the previous day; which was 831 people who were treated.

A total of 90 people were declared to need oxygen supplementation and 14 people were in critical condition. The 14 people are currently still being treated in the intensive care unit (ICU). Of the total patients; as many as 82 people are elderly.

The Ministry of Health of Singapore noted that there were at least 12 large clusters that had been found by his party. One of the clusters was found at Sembcorp Marine Admiralty Yard with 26 cases.

 

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Citing Channel News Asia; the cluster was caused by workplace transmission with further spread to household contacts of cases; the MOH said. Then; there is the Orange Valley Nursing Home cluster in Simei with a total of 17 cases. Bintang Biru Dormitory with 71 cases and Avery Dormitory with 95 cases.

Then there is the Chinatown Complex cluster with 256 cases and the cluster at the bus intersection in Toa Payoh; Tampines and Punggol so far it has reached 437 cases.

Singapore’s Minister of Health; Ong Ye Kung predicts that the increase in COVID-19 cases in Singapore will be more than 1;000 cases per day. Because; he sees; the number of cases is increasing day by day.

“I think let’s prepare for the possibility of crossing the 1;000 mark soon. That’s not unexpected; it’s the typical behavior of a transmission wave that usually peaks between four and up to eight weeks; or 30; 40 sometimes 50 days;” Ong Ye Kung said Saturday ( 18/9).

The Singapore government has tightened entry for travelers to the country. Visitors are required to take a pre-departure polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 48 hours; an on-arrival test; and an out-of-home notification PCR test on Day 7.

It is known; the vaccination rate in Singapore is fairly fast. Until now; the Ministry of Health of Singapore noted that 82 percent of the population there had received the complete dose.

 

Source: Reuters and CNN. Stay tuned for more international news about Singapore Covid-19.

UN Extends Mission in Afghanistan for Next 6 Months

 

The United Nations Security Council (UN) decided to extend the UN mission in Afghanistan for another six months until March 2022. The UN also called on the Taliban to create an inclusive government.

 

UN Mission in Afghanistan

The 15-member security council decided to continue the political mission entitled UNAMA which focused on dealing with development issues. Afghanistan has been an important concern since the Taliban seized the government.

In the document, the United Nations stressed the importance of establishing an inclusive and representative government. Currently, the government is made up entirely of members of the Taliban and there are no women.

“Women’s full, equal and meaningful participation, and respect for human rights, including for women, children and minorities,” the UN wrote.

In addition, in this mission, the UN also ensures that it will continue to play a role in the peace and stability of Afghanistan.

 

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Diplomats said the Taliban had no objection to the extension of the UN mission in Afghanistan.

“They are more pragmatic,” said a UN Afghanistan specialist.

The UN representative also said the Taliban needed a UN presence.

“The Taliban need the UN and this is our influence,” the UN representative said.

The UN Security Council also asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to provide monthly briefings on the latest situation in Afghanistan until the end of the mission.

 

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Australia to Build 8 Nuclear Powered Submarines

Australia will build eight nuclear-powered submarines under a new Indo-Pacific security pact with the United States and Britain.
“Our world is becoming more complex; especially here in our region; the Indo-Pacific;” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

 

Australia Submarines

Australia is the second country to be given access to US nuclear technology to build nuclear-powered submarines. The first country was England in 1958.

“To meet these challenges; to help provide the security and stability our region needs; we must now take our partnership to a new level;” Morrison continued.

The Prime Minister of New Zealand; Jacinda Ardern; welcomed the cooperation; which focuses on the Indo-Pacific region.

“I’m pleased to see that the focus has shifted to our region from the partners we work with;” he explained.

However; Jacinda also said the submarine would not be allowed to sail in its territorial waters under the country’s nuclear-free policy.

 

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“This is a contested area; and there is a role others can play in taking an interest in our territory.”

In a press conference on Wednesday (15/9) yesterday; the leaders of the US; UK and Australia tried to counter the growing power and influence of the enemy by making this trilateral pact. Especially regarding military development; pressure experienced by Taiwan and placement in the South China Sea.

They did not say for sure that the action was against China. However; some believe it was carried out to reduce Beijing’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

The leaders also stressed that submarines would not be nuclear-armed; but would only use propulsion systems or nuclear reactors to guard against future threats.

In response to the deal; the Chinese Embassy in the US said countries should not build exclusive blocks that target or harm the interests of third parties.

“In particular; they have to let go of their Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice;” he said.

 

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Singapore Considers Non-mRNA Vaccine for Booster

 

Singapore’s Health Minister Janil Puthucheary said that currently his country is considering the possibility of using a non-mRNA vaccine as a booster injection.
The Singapore Ministry of Health’s Committee of Experts (MOH) stated that they are “actively studying heterologous strategies involving non-mRNA vaccines”.

 

Singapore Vaccine

The agency also said that the ministry would continue to observe global and local data; especially regarding the risk of vaccine side effects; before recommending booster injections for Singaporeans.

MOH is studying the possibility that a different brand of vaccine would be more effective as a booster shot. Several studies have shown it can be done.

Several types of non-mRNA vaccines recommended by WHO are Oxford-AstraZeneca; Johnson & Johnson; and Sinopharm.

Not only studying non-mRNA vaccines; Singapore also made various agreements and plans to provide booster vaccines for its citizens.

“We have a strategy that is deliberately aimed at acquiring a portfolio of vaccines that use different technologies; to increase our chances of securing a vaccine that will continue to be safe and effective against COVID-19;” Puthucheary said.

“We are negotiating with suppliers to give us injections of non-mRNA boosters; and some are preparing their applications for PSARs (pandemic-specific access points).”

 

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PSAR is required in the Singapore Health Sciences Authority’s licensing process to grant temporary authorization for vaccines to be used in Singapore.

The Sinovac vaccine is one of them; given this authorization in June after obtaining emergency use permits by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The MOH is currently recommending that seniors 60 years of age and older receive a booster vaccine six to nine months after the second vaccine injection. Meanwhile; immunocompromised individuals should receive a booster vaccine two months after they receive their second dose.

Singapore has also signed an advance purchase agreement with American biotechnology company Novavax to secure its protein-based vaccine. The plan; this vaccine will arrive before the end of the year.

As of September 9; 2021; 81 percent of Singaporeans have received the full dose of the Covid-19 vaccine; while 85 percent have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

 

Source: Reuters and CNN. Stay tuned for more international news about Singapore Vaccine.

 

WHO Strictly Monitors Corona Virus Variant B1,466.2 From Indonesia

 

The corona virus B1;466.2 is one of 12 SARS-CoV-2 variants that are included in the WHO priority list for further monitoring.

 

Corona Virus

According to WHO data; 85 percent of the B1;466.2 variant has so far been found in Indonesia; 5 percent found in Malaysia; 4 percent found in Singapore; 1 percent each in Australia and Japan.

The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) said that the local variant B.1.466.2 even had a massive spread in Indonesia before the Delta variant attacked.

According to researchers from the LIPI Biology Research Center; variant B.1.466.2 had dominated transmission in Indonesia in up to 57 percent of Covid-19 cases in March 2021; before finally the Delta variant attacked and dominated more than 80 percent.

However; currently; the variant tends to be a minority and the proportion is less than 5 percent in mid-June-July; after the Delta variant dominated Covid cases in Indonesia to 92 percent.

LIPI said that variant B.1.466.2 was first discovered in Bekasi on November 12; 2020. WHO has put variant B.1466.2 under monitoring since April 28.

 

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This variant called LIPI has changes in genetic material that are thought to affect the characteristics of the virus or are thought to pose a risk in the future.

But the evidence for a phenotypic or epidemiological impact is currently unclear; requiring further monitoring and new scientific evidence.

There are also several other variants that are dominant in Indonesia; namely B.1.470; B.1.1.398; and B.1.459.

Variant B.1.470 was found in Surabaya 9 April 2020; B.1.1.398 in Jakarta on 5 June 2020; and B.1.459 in NTB on 1 June 2020.

Meanwhile; so far; WHO has three categories of monitoring coronavirus mutations.

The three categories consist of variants of the corona virus of concern (VoC); variants of interest (VoI); and variants that require further close monitoring (Alerts for Further Monitoring).

 

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UN: Taliban Break Promises on Women and Inclusion

 

The United Nations’ human rights chief; Michelle Bachelet; said the Taliban were breaking its promises on women’s rights and inclusive governance in Afghanistan.

 

UN – Taliban

“Contrary to assurances that the Taliban will uphold women’s rights; over the past three weeks; women have been increasingly excluded from the public sphere;” Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Bachelet also expressed disappointment with the composition of the Taliban government which did not involve women and was dominated by ethnic Pashtuns.

“(I) am disappointed by the lack of inclusion of the so-called interim cabinet; which does not include women and is slightly non-Pashtun;” Bachelet said.

He stressed that Afghanistan was entering a new and dangerous phase since the Taliban took power on August 15. Violence against protesters and journalists has also increased.

Several demonstrators were even reported killed after the Taliban opened fire in the air to disperse the crowd. Many other demonstrators also claimed to have been beaten by the group.

Another promise that the Taliban broke; said Bachelet; was the issue of granting amnesty to former civil servants and security officers during the Ashraf Ghani administration. He highlighted house-to-house searches of former officials in the previous era.

 

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The United Nations says it has received multiple reports of searches for those who have worked with US companies and security forces. Some staff also reported increased attacks and threats.

He also admitted to receiving reports regarding the alleged murder of dozens of former members of the Afghan military.

Bachelet then called for a mechanism to monitor rights in Afghanistan.

“I reiterate my call to this Council to take bold and strong action; commensurate with the gravity of this crisis;” he said.

The world is continuing to shine a light on the Taliban; especially as they promised to build an inclusive and moderate government when they took power in mid-August.

They also promised to uphold women’s rights. The current government; said the Taliban; will be different from the 1996-2001 era; which was considered authoritarian and ultraconservative.

Not even a month into the leadership; the Taliban has shown restrictions on women’s movement. They also do not want women representatives to occupy ministerial positions because they think it is not in accordance with Islamic law.

 

Source: Reuters and CNN. Stay tuned for more international news about UN Taliban.

US, Japan, South Korea meet to discuss North Korea’s nuclear disarmament efforts

 

The United States; Japan and South Korea will hold a meeting in Tokyo to break the deadlock in North Korea’s nuclear and missile disarmament efforts that have been stalled.
“The three countries are expected to have in-depth discussions on how to promote cooperation in managing the situation on the Korean Peninsula stably and continuing the peace process in the near future;” South Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement Friday.

 

North Korea’s Nuclear

Seoul said South Korea’s special representative for peace and security on the Korean Peninsula; Noh Kyu-duk; would travel to Japan for three days.

He plans to meet with the US envoy to North Korea; Sung Kim; and the Director General of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Bureau of Asian and Oceanic Affairs; Takehiro Funakoshi.

In addition to discussing North Korea’s missile and nuclear issues; the envoys will also strengthen cooperation between Seoul; Washington and Tokyo.

In August; Sung Kim said he was ready to meet North Korean representatives anywhere and anytime.

 

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Quoted by Reuters; so far North Korea’s nuclear disarmament efforts are still in place. In fact; the US-North Korea had agreed to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

Pyongyang has always maintained that it is open to diplomacy. However; US sanctions and military exercises between Seoul and Washington have often been a stumbling block for diplomacy with North Korea.

Earlier; US President Joe Biden said that he would seek diplomatic avenues in efforts to disarm North Korea and its ballistic missiles. However; Biden is still unwilling to ease US sanctions against the isolated nation.

 

Source: Reuters and CNN. Stay tuned for more international news about North Korea’s nuclear.

Ships Stuck Again in the Suez Canal, Had a Traffic Jam

 

A large cargo ship snagged again in the Suez Canal on Thursday (9/9) and briefly triggered congestion in one of the global trade routes.
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) stated that the Panamanian-flagged Coral Crystal had problems while moving south of the canal.

 

Suez Canal

According to SCA, the 43,000-ton ship was stuck in the northern part of the Suez Canal. However, the crew was able to come up with a movement solution on their own and managed to resolve the issue about 15 minutes later.

Based on the monitoring of the MarineTraffic website, the Coral Crystal ship then moved at a speed of about 12 knots towards the Port of Sudan.

Egypt to Release Cargo Ships Blocking Suez Canal
The spokesman for the Suez Canal, Geoge Safwat, said that at the time of the incident, there were 61 ships carrying a total of 3, million tonnes of cargo were transiting the Suez Canal. He admitted there had been a traffic jam.

 

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“The traffic jam has no negative impact,” Safwat said, as reported by USA Today.

SCA representatives also admitted that this incident did indeed cause traffic jams. However, the problem can be resolved quickly.

“There was only a slight congestion problem and it was resolved in less than an hour,” an SCA official told The National, as quoted by The Independent.

This news is of concern because in March, a giant cargo ship which also has a Panama flag, Ever Given, was stuck in the Canal Canal for up to six days.

The incident sparked congestion on one of the world’s busiest trade routes. Egypt also ordered the owner of the Japanese ship, Shoe Kisen, Kaisha, to pay US$900 million or equivalent to Rp13.16 trillion as compensation.

 

Source: Reuters and CNN. Stay tuned for more international news about Suez Canal.

Biden asks Trump’s choice of 11 officials to resign or be fired

 

President Joe Biden has asked 11 officials selected by his predecessor; President Donald Trump; to serve on the advisory board of the United States military academy to resign or be dismissed.

 

Biden Trump

Some of the officials asked to step down include former White House spokesman Sean Spicer; former senior presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway and former security adviser H.R McMaster.

The three currently serve on the advisory boards of the Naval Academy; Air Force Academy; and Army Academy; respectively.

The news was first revealed from a source to CNN. Shortly after; White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed the resignation request.

“The President’s goal is what any madame president is aiming for; making sure you have candidates and people who are qualified to serve on this board; people who are in line with the values ​​you believe in. So; yes the request has been decided; ” Psaki told reporters.

“I would let others evaluate and think whether Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer; and others are eligible; or are their appointments unpolitical to serve on this council? This is a presidential requirement; not an opening of your party’s list of members; they must qualify;” he added.

There is also Heidi Stirrup; the former White House liaison with the Trump Ministry of Justice.

 

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In addition; Douglas MacGregor; former US ambassador and controversial Pentagon official. Stirrup and MacGregor were appointed by Trump to the boards of the Air Force and Army Academy.

The request for the resignation of Trump’s elected officials comes; after the US Department of Defense recently restarted the functions of various state advisory boards.

According to the US Air Force Academy website; a military academy advisory board was established to oversee the morals; discipline; social climate; curriculum; instruction; physical training; to academic methods related to the state military academy.

The military academy board meets several times a year and often provides independent advice and recommendations to the president.

 

Source: Reuters and CNN. Stay tuned for more international news about Biden Trump.

India Alerts for Possible Wave 3 of Covid-19

 

India’s health system continues to improve to prepare for a possible third wave of Covid-19 infections; which is expected to occur in mid-September to October.
The threat of a third wave of Covid-19 emerged after India detected a significant rise in coronavirus infections to an average of 40;000 cases per day around the end of August after the harvest festival took place two weeks earlier.

 

India Covid

The increase in positive cases of Covid-19 in India in recent times has made the country led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi make various preparations; one of which is supplying 15 thousand tons of oxygen per day to every hospital.

Although the current demand for medical oxygen is much reduced compared to when the second wave of Covid-19 occurred around last April; various producers and the government continue to prepare for the worst-case scenario to avoid a repeat of the corona virus catastrophe.

The Indian government has also increased patient bed capacity in various health facilities across the country.

When the second wave of Covid-19 infections hit; India faced various problems; from lack of oxygen supply to unfinished cremation of bodies.

That is why the Indian government and hospitals are on guard to supply all the needs for Covid-19 treatment tools amid the threat of the third wave of transmission of the SARS-like virus.

 

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For example; Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi increased its oxygen storage capacity by 50 percent. They also installed a one kilometer long pipe that can deliver oxygen directly to the COVID ICU; and also installed equipment to keep the oxygen flow high.

“Given the possibility of the emergence of a coronavirus mutation; with a higher rate of transmission and immunity; the hospital continues to prepare for the worst;” said Ganga Hospital director Ram Satendra Katoch as quoted by Reuters.

Several Indian states; including Madhya Pradesh; also supply anti-viral drugs such as Remdesivir.

The hospital is also preparing a special ward for children; considering that many children who have not received the vaccine are vulnerable to contracting Covid-19.

 

Source: Reuters and CNN. Stay tuned for more international news about India Covid.

Preparing for Election, Japan Has the Potential to Have First Female PM

 

Japan could potentially have a female prime minister for the first time since former Interior Minister Sanae Takaichi ran for chair of the ruling party.
Takaichi announced his candidacy as chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) on Wednesday (8/9) to replace Yoshihide Suga.

 

Japan PM

The LDP will hold a vote to elect a leader on September 29. The winner in the LDP chairman election will later become the party’s representative in the PM election at the lower house level of parliament which will be held no later than 28 November.

The head of the LDP is almost certain to be the next prime minister; given that the ruling party does hold a majority in parliament.

If he wins; Takaichi will become Japan’s first female prime minister. Reuters reported that Takaichi had a pretty good chance given that former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe gave support to the only female candidate.

With Abe’s encouragement; Takaichi is certain to receive the support of at least 20 MPs. However; Takaichi’s popularity rating in the eyes of the public itself is currently still very low.

 

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The former interior minister in the Abe era began campaigning for a number of programs that he would intensify if he was appointed prime minister.

Takaichi said he wanted to fix a number of issues that had not been resolved by the previous government; such as achieving 2 percent inflation; and drafting legislation “that prevents the leakage of sensitive information to China.”

He also considered that Japan needed an extra budget to fix the country’s medical system which was chaotic due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite launching a number of important programs; Takaichi’s conservative attitude is considered to reduce support from women’s rights fighters.

Some time ago; Takaichi and the LDP vehemently rejected calls for women to retain their own family names after marriage.

They consider such a move to undermine the unity of the family and go against tradition.

 

Source: Reuters and CNN. Stay tuned for more international news about Japan.

Turkey warns world not to rush to recognize Taliban

 

Turkey has warned the international community not to be too hasty in recognizing the Taliban as Afghanistan’s new official government.
In a television interview; Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned that the new Afghan government should be inclusive and provide space for women. He also suggested that some Afghan women from various ethnic groups should be given ministerial posts.

 

Turkey – Taliban

“There is no need to rush. This is our advice to the whole world. We must act together with the international community;” Cavusoglu said.

Cavusoglu himself is very careful and does not reveal how Turkey’s own attitude towards the current relationship with the Taliban.

Turkey is currently in negotiations regarding operational assistance for Kabul airport; which has not yet fully recovered after being left by the United States and its allies.

Cavusoglu also said that Turkey is currently cooperating with Qatar and the US to formulate requirements for the opening of Kabul airport which will be prioritized for access to humanitarian aid distribution and evacuating civilians who want to leave Afghanistan.

Cavusoglu considers security issues to be the main focus of Kabul Airport operations. He stressed that commercial flights can never be resumed until the airline is sure that conditions at the airport are safe enough.

Cavusoglu said even if airlines; including Turkish Airlines; wanted to fly to Kabul; insurance companies would not allow it because security was not guaranteed.

 

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“In my view; Taliban or Afghan forces can ensure security outside the airport;” Cavusoglu said.

“But inside; there could be a security company that the international community trusts or all the other companies;” he said.

Meanwhile; the US stated that they no longer control the airspace in Afghanistan and the Kabul airport was in a state of disrepair when it was abandoned by Uncle Sam’s troops.

However; Kabul Airport started operating for domestic flights last week. The Qatari Ambassador to Afghanistan stated that the Kabul airport runway had been repaired and could be used again for domestic flights and humanitarian assistance.

He then said that since the runway was fixed; there have been two successful domestic flights taking off from Kabul airport; namely to Mazar-i-Sharif and Kandahar.

 

Source: Reuters and CNN. Stay tuned for more international news about Turkey.

 

Man who spread Covid-19 in Vietnam jailed for 5 years

 

The Vietnamese Communist government court sentenced the spreader of Covid-19 to five years in prison.

Vietnam COVID

It was Le Van Tri, the man who was found guilty of violating the quarantine period at home and spreading Covid-19 in the country.

The 28-year-old man was traveling from the red zone in Ho Chi Minh to his hometown of Ca Mau. Meanwhile, the province requires a 21-day quarantine period at home for residents who come from the red zone.

Violation of this rule is punishable by criminal sanctions by the Vietnamese Court.

“Tri has violated the rules of the quarantine period at home, causing a number of residents to be infected with Covid-19. One person died on August 7 after contracting it,” the court ruled in a statement, quoting AFP.

 

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Local Vietnamese media also reported that a total of eight people had contracted Covid-19 due to the violations committed by Van Tri.

Vietnam is now facing a surge in Covid-19 cases with a total of 540,000 people who tested positive and 13,000 died so far.

The highest cases were recorded at the end of April, forcing the country to go into lockdown in major cities such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

Several people were also jailed for being found guilty of spreading Covid-19. The 32-year-old man was jailed for 18 months in July on charges of spreading Covid-19.

 

Source: Reuters and CNN. Stay tuned for more international news about Vietnam COVID.

Taliban governor continues to hunt ISIS in hiding

 

One of the governors of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Mullah Neda Mohammad, said he would continue to hunt down ISIS fighters from hiding in his country.

Neda also previously fought against the US-formed Afghan government. Now he occupies the position of Governor of Nangarhar, Afghanistan, after the Taliban managed to retake the country.

 

Taliban Governor

“We are still looking for people (ISIS) who are still hiding,” Neda Mohammad told AFP.

He also claims to have arrested 70-80 members of IS Khorasan (IS-K), the country’s branch of ISIS, since the Taliban under his command took control of Jalalabad City, Nangarhar Province.

IS-K is said to be behind a number of suicide bombings in Afghanistan in recent years. The group is also said to have massacred people inside mosques, in public areas, and in hospitals.

IS-K also claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed more than 100 people, including 13 US troops, near Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul. The attack was said to be the largest since the US invaded Afghanistan in 2011.

The US retaliated for the suicide bombing by carrying out drone air strikes against the IS-K suicide bomber designer in Nangarhar province.

However, Neda Mohammad does not believe ISIS will pose a serious threat to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

 

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“They have lost a lot of lives in the north and east of Afghanistan. There is no reason ISIS can live here (Afghanistan). We don’t see ISIS as a threat,” said Neda Mohammad.

Although the Taliban and ISIS are both Sunni Islamist militias, they differ in terms of branching beliefs and strategies.

The two even fought each other and claimed to carry the flag of jihad. The battle caused many casualties.

ISIS also made a statement that the Taliban had betrayed the jihadists because of the deal to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan.

 

Source: Reuters and CNN. Stay tuned for more international news about Taliban Governor.

Taliban Accused of Shooting Dead Pregnant Afghan Policewoman

The Taliban reportedly shot dead a pregnant Afghan policewoman at her home in Firozkoh.
A number of relatives told the BBC that initially, three gunmen visited the house of the policewoman named Banu Negar on Saturday (4/9).

 

Taliban News

They ransacked Negar’s house, then tied the hands of his family members. The three men then beat Negar and shot the woman dead in front of her husband and child.

The BBC doesn’t know the details of the incident because many people don’t want to speak up. They are afraid of being targeted by the Taliban if they dare to speak up.

Grief for Afghan Women in Indonesia: My sister was killed by the Taliban
However, some of Negar’s relatives showed photos showing blood splattered on the wall in the corner of a room. There are also photos of bodies whose faces are unrecognizable.

However, the spokesman for Takiban, Zabiullah Mujaheed, said that his group was not involved in the incident at all.

“We are aware of the incident and I can confirm that the Taliban did not kill him. Our investigation is still ongoing,” Mujaheed told the BBC.

 

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Afghan women protest in front of the Taliban, urge for equality
He also stressed that the Taliban had announced they would pardon people who worked for the previous government.

Mujaheed also suspected that Negar’s murder was related to “personal matters or something else.”

This news comes amid public concerns about the increasingly repressive attitude of some Taliban members towards women after the group took power in mid-August.

Since taking power, the Taliban has continued to build an image as a more tolerant group. However, a number of reports of their brutality in restraining women are still emerging.

A number of observers have also begun to sniff out the signs of the Taliban to reduce the role of women. At the end of last week, Kabul was shocked by the news of a number of women who dared to stage demonstrations in front of the Taliban troops.

The Taliban allowed the demonstrations in the name of equality and freedom of expression. However, a number of women who attended the demonstration said the Taliban fired tear gas as they tried to cross the bridge to the Presidential Palace.

 

Source: Reuters and CNN. Stay tuned for more international news about Taliban.

Brazil suspends 12 million doses of illegal Sinovac vaccine

 

Brazil’s health regulator; Anvisa; has suspended the use of more than 12 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech; Ltd. which was produced in illegal factories.

 

Brazil – Sinovac

In a statement on Saturday (4/9) local time; Anvisa said it received a warning on Friday (3/9) by the Butantan Institute; a biomedical institution that is partnering with Sinovac to work on the vaccine locally in Brazil.

The warning contained 25 batches or the equivalent of 12.1 million doses shipped to Brazil from unauthorized manufacturers.

“The manufacturing unit; was not vetted and approved by Anvisa in the said emergency use authorization of the vaccine;” the regulator said.

“This prohibition is a precaution to avoid exposing the population to possible risks;” continued Anvisa.

 

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Butantan also told Anvisa that another 17 batches; equivalent to 9 million doses; were also produced at the same factory; the funds were on their way to Brazil.

During the 90-day ban; Anvisa will inspect the factory; and find out more about the safety of the vaccine manufacturing process.

During the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine in Brazil earlier this year; most of the vaccines administered were Sinovac.

Brazil on Saturday (4/9) reported 21;804 new cases and 692 new deaths from Covid-19.

 

Source: Reuters and CNN. Stay tuned for more international news about Brazil.

Taliban Open Fire Celebrating Victory, 17 Dead

At least 17 people were killed when Taliban members opened fire in the air to celebrate victory after claiming to have captured Afghanistan’s only unconquered area; the Pansjhir Valley.

 

Taliban

The Shamshad and Tolo news agencies reported that a dozen people were killed when the Taliban fired “fire into the air” in Kabul. In addition; 41 other people were also injured in the incident.

Not only in Kabul; at least 14 other people were also injured because members of the Taliban in Nangarhar province opened fire in a similar celebration.

The main spokesman; Zabihullah Mujahid; also appealed to its members not to celebrate victory by firing into the air.

“Avoid firing shots in the air and just thank God. Bullets can injure civilians; so don’t shoot unnecessarily;” Mujahid said as quoted by Reuters.

 

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The Taliban are celebrating victory after the group claimed it had captured the only area in Afghanistan they had not conquered; the Panjshir Valley. However; anti-Taliban forces in Panjshir dispute these claims.

If the claims are proven; the group has managed to cover all areas of Afghanistan after fighting in recent months.

The Taliban themselves often fire in the air to celebrate victory. Shortly after the United States left Afghanistan earlier this week; they also opened fire on various roads.

 

Source: Reuters and CNN. Stay tuned for more international news about Taliban.